N. Suresh Babu alias ‘Pottu’ Suresh, a confidant of Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilizers, M. K. Alagiri, was murdered here on Thursday night. The murder took place about 200 metres from the Minister’s residence.

According to eyewitnesses, Suresh Babu was returning home from his office when a two-wheeler hit his vehicle on Murugan Temple Main Road near Jaihindpuram. Even as he was trying to come out of his car, he was pulled out and attacked from behind with sickles by a six-member gang travelling in a goods vehicle. A resident said he heard loud cries around 8 p.m. and soon found the victim lying in a pool of blood with multiple injuries on his back.

The driver of the car, Mani, who was in a dazed condition, was spared by the gang. The gang escaped.

The body was shifted to the Government Rajaji Hospital for post-mortem.

The Deputy Commissioner of Police, R. Thirunavukkarasu, visited the scene.

A sniffer dog was pressed into service.

A senior police officer suspected the murder to be the handiwork of a professional gang. The members, police said, looked like construction workers. They would have been meticulously following the victim, who was changing his route while going home in the last three weeks.

Pottu Suresh, who remained powerful during the DMK regime between 2006 and 2011, was held on land grab charges and in a murder case in July, 2011.

He was detained under Goondas Act on July 25, 2011. The detention was subsequently quashed by the Madras High Court. After his release, Pottu Suresh had been lying low.

Mr. Alagiri, who celebrated his birthday here on Wednesday, was not at home when the murder took place.