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The BBC's Jill McGivering
"The former chief minister is now facing corruption charges"
 real 56k

Sunday, 1 July, 2001, 14:03 GMT 15:03 UK
Tamil Nadu crisis reaches Delhi
Karunanidhi's arrest was captured by this video taken by a family relative
Delhi is unhappy with Karunanidhi's arrest
The Indian Government has dismissed the governor of the southern state of Tamil Nadu following the arrest of former chief minister Muthuvel Karunanidhi on corruption charges on Saturday.


The governor has failed to discharge her obligations for safeguarding the constitution in Tamil Nadu

Indian law minister
The decision came after governor Fathima Beevi, who is Delhi's representative in the state, sent a letter approving police behaviour during the controversial arrest .

Law Minister Arun Jaitley was quoted as saying that Ms Beevi had failed to safeguard the constitution in Tamil Nadu.

Two months ago she allowed the current chief minister, Jayaram Jayalalitha, to replace Mr Karunanidhi despite her conviction in two criminal cases.

It was Ms Jayalalitha who ordered the arrest of 78-year-old Mr Karunanidhi and about a thousand of his supporters.

Jayalalitha
Chief minister Jayalalitha has herself been convicted of corruption
Mr Karunanidhi is also the leader of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) party, a member of India's ruling coalition.

Indian television reports showed dramatic pictures on Saturday of Mr Karunanidhi being pulled roughly down the stairs of his home by police officers and taken away in a police van.

Ministers arrested

Ms Beevi said the police action was lawful. Ugly scuffles only took place because Mr Karunanidhi resisted, she added.

But the Indian cabinet was clearly unhappy with this response and decided to replace her.

Jayalalitha followers
Jayalalitha followers celebrate with fire crackers
The indignity of his arrest and the charges raised a storm of protests from his supporters and sparked minor demonstrations within the state.

The Indian Government was also stunned by the arrests for obstruction of two cabinet ministers who went to the state capital, Madras, to intervene.

BBC correspondent Satish Jacob says that these arrests are unprecedented and have changed the whole complexion of the affair from a personal feud to a national crisis.

Revenge

Mr Karunanidhi faces charges of corruption relating to roads built while he was chief minister.

He was voted out of office in May in state elections as a result of which Ms Jayalalitha replaced him.

When Ms Jayalalitha was in opposition, she too was arrested on the orders of Mr Karunanidhi in similar though less humiliating circumstances.

Correspondents say she had vowed to take revenge but no one expected such harsh action.

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See also:

24 Apr 01 | South Asia
Poll bar for star politician
09 Oct 00 | South Asia
Indian ex-minister guilty of land deal
14 Apr 99 | South Asia
Jayalalitha: Actress-turned-politician
18 May 01 | South Asia
Jayalalitha's enduring appeal
16 May 01 | South Asia
Congress bides its time
01 Jul 01 | South Asia
Rival's revenge in Tamil Nadu
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