Gangland feud suspected

An armed gang hacked to death a 36-year-old man in the backyard of a house at Malayankeezh.

The police identified the victim as Roby Das alias Thankuttan. He was accused in several cases, notably the 2006 murder of gangster “Parassala” Binu.

Investigators said Roby's murder was the latest occurrence in a long drawn out and blood-spattered gangland feud, which had disturbed the public peace several times in the past five years.

The police seemed unable to check the feuding gangsters and shut down their illegal sources of income, such as spirit retail, extortion, protection money racket and commission from the sale of illegally mined river sand.

Investigators said Roby was killed to avenge Binu's death. The early morning crime was a typical mafia style hit-and-run operation, involving several elements, including spotters, trackers, assailants and a back-up squad to facilitate the escape of the hit-team. They suspect Binu's brother, Murukan, to have ordered the “hit” on Roby.

The assailants tracked their quarry, who was travelling on a motorbike, from his house to a tea stall at Chozhattupettah.

They ambushed him by throwing crude bombs, chased him into the backyard of a house and hacked him to death in the presence of the house owner and his family.

Circle Inspector, Kattakada, V. Reji Kumar said the police counted 95 cut injuries on Roby's body. His limbs were chopped off and face disfigured.

Local residents were in a high state-of-shock and fear. None were willing to give evidence to the police as of now. The police said they would rely on scientific evidence, mobile phone call records included, to convict the suspects.

The blood feud, which has rocked the district several times in the past, started in February 2006 when Binu and his gang hacked to death rival gang-leader Motta Ani at Karamana.

The police case was that one Chozhattupettah Ambili, a spirit smuggler, had contracted Binu to eliminate Ani, who he viewed as a business rival.

In September the same year, Ani's brother-in-law and gang-leader, Soju, killed Binu at Vellaikonam. The police had named Roby as second accused in the tit-for-tat murder. Investigators said the assailants had initially targeted Soju, who was currently in jail. They suspect that Soju's main rivals in the city's underworld could have aided Roby's killers.

Keywords: murdergang war