The Kerala Police said here on Thursday that they had ‘real-time information’ on the person believed to be Devinder Singh alias Bunty Chor, the prime suspect in the Marappalam burglary case, ‘between 4 p.m. and 7.55 p.m. on Wednesday,’ after which the law-enforcers lost track of him.

On Wednesday, they came to know that a person matching the profile of the wanted man was headed towards Bangalore in a white van of the type reported stolen from the “electronically secured and bulletproof glass-fortified” house of the businessman.

The informant from Krishnagiri district in Tamil Nadu told his State police handlers that the vehicle sported Tamil Nadu registration plates and that the driver seemed to have realised that he was ‘recognised.’

Additional Director General of Police A. Hemachandran alerted Superintendent of Police (SP) of Krishnagiri Ashok Kumar, who was on leave for his daughter’s marriage. The SP, who is to retire soon, took to the field with his men and vehicles to intercept the van. The fugitive’s powerful vehicle helped him outrun Mr. Ashok Kumar’s unit.

Apparently realising that his cover was blown off, the suspect abandoned the National High 7 route and took a byroad to reach Krishnapuri, near Kalamangalam. He abandoned the stolen vehicle, hired a taxi, and headed in the direction of Bangalore. The police reached the taxi stand and collected the driver’s cell phone number. They told the driver that his passenger was a wanted man and not to do anything that would make him suspicious.

Video images

Almost simultaneously, the State police alerted their counterparts in Bangalore. They released the video images of the suspect (captured by surveillance cameras at the burgled house) to a television channel in Karnataka. The channel was the first to hint that the suspect could have been detained.

At 7.55 p.m., the suspect disembarked from the taxi near a railway station in Bangalore. The initial report was that he had pulled a knife on the driver, which proved to be false.

A State police team in Bangalore reported “rumours” that Assistant Commissioner of Police, Koramangala, had caught the suspect.

On Thursday, the Karnataka Police told their counterparts here that their men, though deployed in strength to intercept the suspect, had “made no contact with him.” A State police team is bivouacked in Bangalore in the hope that they could still net the suspect.

Staff Reporter writes from Bangalore: Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) Bipin Gopalkrishna dismissed rumours of the arrest saying that he was not aware of any such development. Senior police officers in Bangalore City and Rural districts and Ramanagaram district also said no arrest had been made.

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