Erode (TN): Former Tamil Nadu Minister and DMK leader N K K P Raja and four others were arrested here on Thursday in connection with a land grabbing case.

Raja becomes the second minister of the previous DMK regime to be taken into custody in the continuing crackdown by the AIADMK government on land grabbing, the first being Veerapandi Arumugam who was arrested on July 30.

Raja, former Handloom Minister, Erode Municipal Corporation Mayor K Kumar Muruges, party's District Deputy Secretary O C Viswanathan, his son Rajendran and one Subramaniam were arrested by the Special Police for Land Grabbing Cell, at 5 am, police said.

They were taken into custody following a complaint from one Ramasamy a few days ago that Raja and 11 others, including Muruges and Viswanathan, had visited his house in 2007 and forcibly obtained his signature to sell 60.5 acres of his land at Thendralnagar in Perundurai for the amount he had borrowed from Subramaniam, police said.

He had complained that no money was paid to him, police said.

Cases have been registered against Raja and 11 others under various IPC sections including 420 (cheating).

Police said Raja was arrested from his house at Kavindapady near here and the other four at their respective houses in Erode and Perundurai. Police are on the lookout for six others.

They were taken to the Erode Land Grabbing police cell located in the district police office, where Raja told police that he was innocent, and wanted them to show him the complainant but the police said he would appear in court when the trial begins.

"False cases have been foisted against me," Raja said. Chepauk constituency MLA J Anbazhagan, former MLA Ranganathan, his aide, and supporters of Union Minister M K Alagiri, have already been arrested on land grab charges.

The state government had formed a special cell to exclusively deal with the land grabbing cases.

Party president M Karunanidhi has termed the arrests as "vendetta politics" but Chief Minister Jayalalithaa has denied the charge, saying the special police cells were acting on "genuine" complaints by "affected" persons with no political link.

Karunanidhi had claimed that those who had filed land grab cases against his party workers did so with an intention to secure the land with an eye on the rising realty trends.

He had also alleged that no action was taken against AIADMK functionaries when similar complaints were lodged.

The crackdown is the result of an electoral promise made by Jayalalithaa during the Assembly elections that she would take action against land grabbing during DMK rule. Police said they were later produced before Judicial Magistrate Naraja who remanded them to 15 days judicial custody.

DMK boycotts TN budget

Meanwhile, protesting against the issues including "foisting" of cases against its partymen, DMK MLAs led by their Legislature Party leader M K Stalin boycotted the Tamil Nadu Budget, presented by the AIADMK government here.

Minutes before Finance Minister O Panneerselvam rose to present the first full-fledged budget of the year, and the first after Jayalalithaa-led AIADMK came to power, Stalin rose and started making some remarks.

Speaker D Jayakumar denied permission to Stalin to speak but the DMK Treasurer proceeded and later staged a walkout followed by party MLAs, including former Ministers Duraimurugan and A V Velu.

Later, speaking to reporters outside the House, Stalin said his party had walked out protesting the "foisting" of land grab cases against his partymen, and the issue of Samacheer Kalvi (Uniform System of School Education).

He also complained of inadequate seating arrangements for the DMK in the Assembly.

(Agencies)