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TN Whistleblower Savukku Shankar Makes News Splash, Police Files FIR Then, Backtracks Fearing Whiplash

It is amazing how Chennai-based Achimuthu Shankar has transformed himself from a social media journalist to a whistle blower folk hero. He gained both fame and notoriety as Savukku Shankar, choosing a self-styled sobriquet. Savukku in Tamil means whip. Shankar who started his vigilante career in the TN Directorate of Vigilance & Anti-Corruption, had extraordinary talent to sniff out corrupt deals. Naturally, this angered a vast array of bureaucrats and politicians in TN.  Savukku paid the price; he was jailed and tortured for two months. Currently he is once again in the news for the wrong reasons though. His name along with BJP leader Maridass appear in a hastily filed FIR by overzealous TN police against the 90-year-old media house, Ananda Vikatan and its sister publication Junior Vikatan. Junior Vikatan, a bi-weekly tabloid, exposed the phenomenally murky growth of a real estate conglomerate, G Square, alleged to be close to the first family, which turned sensational. The FIR indirectly warned “zealous “journos and vigilantes of certain Lakshman Rekhas they should not cross. This police action saw journalists across Chennai raising a storm of protest. These protests coincided around the time of the Prime Minister’s planned visit to the state. Top police officials, fearing journalists may greet the PM with black bands, quietly withdrew the FIR against Vikatan Press, Shankar and Maridass.