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Producers’ Council spat: Members question police intervention, Vishal’s arrest

A day after a small faction of members led by actor JK Rithesh and producer AL Alagappan from the Tamil Film Producers’ Council (TFPC) locked down the Council offices at Anna Salai and T Nagar, the drama that is brewing reached new heights, with the police officers detaining TFPC’s President actor Vishal on Thursday. The actor and President of the TFPC has been booked under CRPC 151 (Arrest to prevent the commission of cognizable offences) and CRPC 145 (Procedure where dispute concerning land or water is likely to cause breach of peace).

Vishal’s arrival at the Council’s T Nagar office was blocked by a sea of khaki on Thursday morning. The police officers, who were standing guard outside number 14/26, Yogambal Street in T Nagar, refused to allow Vishal or any other TFPC member to enter the premises, stating that only the Registrar had the authority to open the lock.

Vishal made repeated requests to allow him and other elected office bearers to enter the office and discharge their duties on account of the upcoming releases. But not only was Vishal stopped from entering, he was detained along with actor Mansoor Ali Khan, who was also present at the venue, and they were were taken to  a private marriage hall – Pasumpon Muthuramalinga Thevar Marriage Hall – in T Nagar.

Police sources told TNM that Vishal was detained because he had prevented the Registrar from inspecting the office. This, however, is debatable since TNM was present at the venue when the exchanges between Vishal and the DSP transpired. Vishal’s main concern at that point was that the police were not allowing him, the elected President, to enter his office while they were protecting the lock put in place by “unauthorised members”.

In a series of tweets, Vishal questioned the motive of the police and why they were involved in infighting within a private organisation.

Police who were mute yesterday wen unauthorised ppl locked the doors & gates of TFPC have arrested me & my colleague today for no fault of ours,absolutely unbelievable

We will fight back,wil do everything to conduct Ilayaraja sir event & raise funds to help Producers in distress

— Vishal (@VishalKOfficial) December 20, 2018

Targeting me for a simple reason that I want to do good for producers who have lost everything,well I wil continue to do this no matter what. My conscience is Clear,God & Truth is on my side & I will continue to march ahead


— Vishal (@VishalKOfficial) December 20, 2018

Even as Vishal was angrily questioning the police officers and asking them to allow him to open the lock and enter the office, the group of producers who had lead the lockdown were meeting Tamil Nadu’s Chief Minister to submit their petition. 

Led by director Barathiraja, BJP member S Ve Shekhar and AIADMK member JK Rithesh, this faction stated that now that the key has been handed over to the Registrar, he would intervene and investigate the matter further.

Addressing the press, director Barathiraja said, “If there is a committee, there are a few bye-laws that the members have to follow. It has been 2 years since the General Body meeting was convened. It has been a year since the Vice Presidents attended the meetings. Also, the team in charge has to show accounts for Rs 7 crores that was with the committee. TFPC has a Registrar Office that maintains all accounts and makes decisions. Ever since Vishal came to power, the office has been functioning from a different building. This anonymous building has all the accounts. When we had requested for a meeting on Wednesday, no one came. So we locked the anonymous building and we have submitted our petition to the government.”

Sources tell TNM that there are enough reasons to complain against Vishal, with even his close associates alleging that he has been functioning in an authoritarian manner, keeping members uninformed of the proceedings. However, they point out that this protest could be because of personal rivalries between Vishal and the members leading the dissent – JK Rithesh, Kalaipuli S Thanu and producer Radha Krishnan.

Vishal came to power in 2017, winning against producers Radha Krishnan and Kothanda Ramaiah. Previously, in 2015, he was elected as the General Body Secretary of the Nadigar Sangam.

Vishal is known for taking on the government on several occasions, and SR Prabhu, Treasurer of the TFPC, believes that this could be one of the reasons for the police interfering in the matter. SR Prabhu also alleges that the involvement of the police and the arrest of Vishal, the Council’s elected President, could have other ulterior motives. “Now in retrospect, looking at what’s happening, we think there is a different motive behind this,” he tells TNM.

Actor Udhaya, who recently left the Council, tells us that the problem could’ve been solved had Vishal agreed for a meeting when it was requested. “I also know him as a friend and we all helped him to power but his behaviour has not been fitting for a leader. He is not keeping up his promises and that’s the main reason why this has escalated,” he shares.

While actor Udhaya says that any fund misappropriation allegation thrown at Vishal is false, JK Rithesh and his team claim that money to the tune of Rs 7 crore has been unaccounted for in the Council and that Vishal has to step down from his post for this reason.

It is interesting to note that in 2017, when charges of fund misappropriation were heaped against previous members Sarath Kumar and Radha Ravi, Rithesh had questioned the removal saying, “Removing Sarath Kumar and Radha Ravi is an act of revenge. Even if they are being removed on corruption charges, you can go to court. I said remove them through court order, that will be fair, don’t remove them yourself. Now a lot of cases are being put on you for corruption. Tomorrow if another group comes, will they remove you? If everyone is removed, how will the association function? The decision to remove is a bad one.” 

Source: The News Minute