It was a domestic help's casual revelation that led to the arrest of former arms inspector Lt. Col (Retired) Kandasamy Ramaraj on charges of murdering 13-year-old Dilson in the defence residential complex here on July 3.
With little clues and hardly any eyewitness, the murder case was getting complex with every passing day, but the domestic help gave the lead to investigators a couple of days ago that, Lt. Col. Ramaraj and family had not eaten properly since the day Dilson was shot dead. This intriguing fact made the Crime Branch CID to focus more on the retired official, who constantly “lied and tried to mislead the police at every stage of the investigation,” police sources said.
Specialist in small arms
Being a specialist in small arms, Lt. Col. Ramaraj first tried to confuse the police on the trajectory of the bullet. He then said he dropped his daughter-in-law at the railway station on the day of the incident and that she had travelled in an unreserved compartment to Madurai. “The woman actually travelled in a reserved coach. The fact that the family was visibly disturbed and the suspect was repeatedly lying made our suspicion stronger,” a CB-CID official said.
Investigation revealed that, Lt. Col. Ramaraj used to throw stones on children of a nearby slum whenever they came to pluck fruits. “When his wife was confronted with some evidence, she broke down. Lt. Col. Ramaraj was angry that stones thrown on trees often fell on his car. Maybe, he did this in a fit of rage,” the official said.
Sources in the Army said, Lt. Col. Ramaraj served as an arms inspector and had thorough knowledge of the mechanism of small arms. “He not only inspected arms at the headquarters [in Chennai] but also travelled to defence establishments across the country to certify the serviceability of guns,” a senior Army official said.
Rejected job offer
Soon after his retirement, Lt. Col. Ramaraj declined a job offered by a company in Chennai.
“He was planning to settle down in Madurai. As an officer, he never came under the Army's adverse notice while in service. The 0.30 calibre Springfield Rifle is a powerful gun normally used for precision firing. Lt. Col. Ramaraj's application for renewal of gun licence was another clue to investigators,” he said.
Brigadier (Administration) Sashi Nair said that within hours of Dilson's murder, the Army authorities had categorically stated that the shot was not fired from a service rifle as the arms and ammunition in the armoury were correctly accounted for.
“We are extremely happy that the accused in this ghastly murder case has been identified and his gun recovered by the police,” Mr. Nair added.