Chennai: A court in Chennai Tuesday turned down the police’s request for judicial custody of senior journalist and Tamil weekly “Nakkheeran” Editor R.R. Gopal. Gopal was arrested this morning at the Chennai airport on a complaint from Raj Bhavan for allegedly publishing reportage on Nirmala Devi case that was defamatory of Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit.

Exclaiming victory, Nakkheeran accused the Tamil Nadu government of acting upon the Governor’s wish. “It’s a victory…The court has judged well,” he said. Gopal was arrested on Tuesday morning when he was about to board a Pune flight.

The articles linked the office of the Governor to Nirmala Devi, an Assistant Professor who was arrested sometime back for allegedly luring college girls to provide sexual favours to officials of Madurai Kamaraj University in exchange for marks. When the incident came out, an alleged telephone recording of her conversation with a few women students had gone viral. Purohit was chancellor of the university.

It was alleged that he had met the accused professor. Purohit, however, denied the allegations saying he never met Nirmala Devi. Some reports said that the police wanted to charge Nakkheeran for allegedly assaulting the Governor.

The arrest of Nakkheeran drew condemnation from opposition parties in Tamil Nadu. MDMK leader Vaiko was arrested as he held a protest outside the Chintadripet police station here after the police refused permission to meet Gopal. Vaiko demanded to know why BJP leader H. Raja was not arrested for his derogatory remarks about the judiciary and police.

He also alleged that it was an attempt by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government to suppress the media freedom.