A Delhi court on Tuesday said the trial in the "Two Leaves" symbol bribery case will begin from December 17 after framing charges against sidelined AIADMK leader T.T.V. Dhinakaran.
Dhinakaran appeared before Special Judge Arun Bhardwaj and pleaded not guilty on charges framed against him.
The court listed the matter for December 17 for recording the statements of prosecution witnesses.
On November 17, the court framed charges under Section 120 B (criminal conspiracy) and 201 (destruction of evidence) of the Indian Penal Code and under Section 8 (bribes to influence public servant) of the Prevention of Corruption Act against Dhinakaran.
As Dhinakaran was not present in the courtroom on the last date of hearing, the judge listed the matter for December 5 for recording Dhinakaran's plea on the charges framed against him.
The court has also framed criminal conspiracy and under Section 8 (bribes to influence public servant) of the Prevention of Corruption Act against Dhinakaran's aide Sukesh Chandershekar and two others - T.P. Mallikarjun and B. Kumar - in the case filed and probed by Delhi Police.
The court has discharged five other accused -- Nathu Singh alias Naresh, Lalit Kumar K. Shah, Pulkit Kundra, Jai Vikram Haran and Narender Jain, observing that in the absence of grave suspicion, no charge for conspiracy can be framed against them.
Dhinakaran, now an independent MLA and heading the Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (AMMK), is accused of having tried to bribe Election Commission officials to get the "Two Leaves" poll symbol for the faction led by his aunt V.K. Sasikala in the wake of the split in the AIADMK following the death of J. Jayalalithaa.
He was arrested on April 25 last year. He was granted bail on June 1, 2017. The bribe amount is said to be of the order of Rs 50 crore.
Later, in December 2017, police filed a supplementary chargesheet in the case naming Dhinakaran, his long-time friend Mallikarjuna, alleged middleman Chandrashekhar and others as accused in the case.
The police said a criminal conspiracy was hatched by persons including Dhinakaran to bribe Election Commission officials.
(With inputs from agencies.)