The driver, who drove city resident Dr. Mallika Ravi on Thursday from Chennai to Villupuram, where she was found dead by the local police the next day, has been arrested. He is the prime suspect in the murder case, along with two accomplices — his girlfriend Sathya and her relative Ganesh.
Police officials said the trio was arrested when they were trying to leave the State. They were arrested in Sriperumbudur on Sunday, and 35 sovereigns of jewellery were recovered from them.
The retired doctor, who was a resident of Eri Scheme in Mogappair West, had left home on Thursday in a red car driven by call driver Karthik alias Venkatesh Babu (41), a pavement dweller in Chennai. Sathya (30) of Shastri Nagar in Kilpauk and her relative Ganesh (41) of Kancheepuram had joined the duo.
According to investigators, during the last seven months, Mallika would often employ Karthik. He had earned her trust and served as the broker in a deal to sell her plot of land in the Mint area.
It has been established that Karthik had turned a call driver for an agency in T. Nagar after he found a lost driver’s licence on the road and started using it by pasting his stamp-sized photograph on it.
“The trio took the doctor to Tirupporur in her car stating that they will arrange a meeting with a prospective buyer and drove her towards Villupuram. Enroute, Ganesh and Sathya strangulated Mallika from behind with her dupatta while she was seated in the front seat of the vehicle,” said Joint Commissioner (West) K. Shanmugavel.
They stole the gold and threw her body in the bushes on the Mailam-Sendur road on the outskirts of Sendur village and abandoned the car and her mobile phone at another location.
On Friday morning the doctor’s body was discovered and a probe by Chennai and the Villupuram police was launched.
“Karthik plotted the killing as he was dejected over the property not being sold despite numerous attempts due to which he had not received any commission amount. On Sunday, the driver, his girlfriend and her relative were apprehended before they could slip out of the State with the gold,” added Inspector of Police (Nolambur) V.Karnan, an investigating officer in the case.
The gold, car and the doctor’s mobile phone were recovered. Villupuram police booked the trio for murder, remanded them to judicial custody and sent them to prison.Psychiatrist’s murder
An Egmore police team probing the murder for gain of psychiatrist Emma Gonsalvez (82), who was found dead at her seventh floor apartment on Dr. Cherian Crescent Road in Egmore on Friday night, are examining the CCTV footage obtained. “It shows a man who looks like a computer executive walking out of the doctor’s main door. We are attempting to establish the identity of the man who is the prime suspect at this point of investigation,” said a senior officer.