It is event management now

Print edition : July 22, 2016

IF the recent murders of the Right to Information (RTI) activist Parasmal Javantraj, and the advocates C. Murugan and Akhilnath, which took place during daytime in Chennai in June are any indication, the practice of hiring professional killers has come to stay in Tamil Nadu. Killing people for a fee has become “a fine art”, with “event managers” choreographing the entire event to the last detail, including sketching the escape routes and providing vehicles to the killers to flee, informed police sources say.

According to them, when a person wants to do away with, say, a business rival, he hires a killer or an organised gang of killers. The professional killer or the gang “sketches a plan of action”, quietly stalk the quarry, “assess the situation” and decide where it is easy to take out the target. Even dry runs are done. The heads of the gangs provide new mobile phones to the killers. After the murder, the killers throw away the phones after removing the SIM card. Waiting vehicles pick up the killers after they finish their job, and the killers are provided security. Even fake ambulances are sent to pick up the killers who would be dropped off in other States, police sources say.

After the killing of Swathi, when the police, conducting vehicle checks on June 26, tried to stop a car on South Usman Road in T. Nagar, it sped off. The police chased and intercepted it and took into custody six members of a gang led by C.D. Mani who were in the car. The six men were Vettrivel, Jaiganesh, Ganesan, Sekar, Maheswaran and Panchatcharam. Except Sekar and Panchatcharam, who are in their 30s, the others are in their 20s.

Each gang has its own “style and method” of killing, the sources say. Weapons are specially made for committing murders. For instance, the sickle-like weapon with a long, curved blade and a long handle, used in killing Swathi, was a specially made weapon called “kodukku” for committing murders.

Disputes over sharing of money or property have led to murders. “It is division of money among family members that lead to the largest number of murders,” says a police source. Hired professional killers are mostly used to murder people belonging to a rival community in communal clashes. “They often disappear after they do their jobs and the [Police] Department will not be able to take action against them,” says the source.

Professional killers were engaged to murder the RTI activist and financier, Parasmal Javantraj. A gang killed him on June 6 in the daytime on Bakers’ Street, Periamet, a busy locality near Central Railway Station. Javantraj was fighting a battle against illegal constructions in the area. He filed a right to information inquiry about an apartment complex which should have had only three floors but had six. A day prior to his murder, 46-year-old advocate C. Murugan was murdered in Trustpuram, Kodambakkam. His wife, who reportedly was in an illicit affair with another man, hired three professional killers to kill him.

The police suspect that hired killers were again used to take out the 34-year-old advocate, Akhilnath, on June 16 at Puzhal, about 30 km from Chennai. Informed sources said he was killed because he reportedly misbehaved with a colleague’s wife.

A four-year-long whodunit surrounds the murder of K.N. Ramajeyam in Tiruchi on March 29, 2012. A gang of professional killers abducted him when he went for his morning walk and brutally murdered him. He is the younger brother of K.N. Nehru, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam legislator and former Minister. Ramajeyam was into several businesses, including the export of granite, quarrying and real estate. He was an accused in a couple of cases of land-grabbing. It is a mystery why the police are unable to arrest the murderers in this case.

T.S. Subramanian

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