An ex-serviceman who was running an eatery in Ramapuram was found murdered inside his establishment on Monday morning.

Police suspect a rivalry to be the reason behind the killing, as a box holding the collection money of over Rs. 8,000 was found intact.

Police sources said the deceased N. Thenarasu (53), a resident of Triplicane, was running Bharani Mess for the last three years on the first floor of a building on Mount-Poonamallee High Road. After finishing work every day at around 10 p.m., Thenarasu would sleep in the eatery and went home only on Saturdays. His employees spent the nights on the terrace of the building along with two other staff members of a canteen that the victim used to run at a firm nearby.

“Around 6.30 a.m., Balu, a cook employed at the mess, went into the kitchen and spotted Thenarasu lying amidst the furniture in a pool of blood. He quickly alerted the other staff members who then called the police. A preliminary examination revealed that there was a deep cut on Thenarasu’s neck,” said M. Chandrasekar, assistant commissioner of police, Valasaravakkam.

The cashbox kept on a bench above where his body was found lying had not been tampered with, police said. Thenarasu often slept with the shutter of the eatery partially open which would have made entry easy for the killer, the officer added.

The Royala Nagar police have registered a case of murder and are questioning Thenarasu’s employees and others in the vicinity. Police suspect the involvement of an employee who left for his native village in Madurai on Sunday night and whose mobile phone has been found switched off.

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