An armed gang barged into the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital late on Wednesday night and hacked a 40-year-old patient in front of his teenage son and over 30 other patients. The victim — himself involved in four murder cases — died shortly after the attack as doctors at the hospital could not revive him.
This is one of the most brazen acts of crime Chennai has ever witnessed and it made a mockery of the security system at the city’s largest hospital, where CCTV cameras and other security measures were put in place less than a year ago. The victim, R. Prakash of Ammani Amman Koil Street in Tondiarpet, who had been diagnosed with hypertension and coronary artery disease, was placed under observation in the men’s ward on the third floor. Patients were settling for the night when seven assailants armed with cleavers barged into the place and aimed at Prakash’s face and neck.
Recalling the shocking moments of the attack, Prakash’s son Dinesh (15) told The Hindu that around 10 p.m. two men wearing caps and handkerchiefs tied to their faces ran towards his father with knives. “I tried to stop them but they pushed me away and chased my father while five others ran in from the other side and pinned him to a corner. They hacked him repeatedly as he cried for help,” the teenager said .
Dinesh screamed for help but the patients, nurses and other hospital staff in the ward ran away in shock. A ward boy came to Dinesh’s aid but only to be threatened to stay away by the gang. “No one came for help as I held him (Prakash) tightly for a while,” the boy said standing outside the GH mortuary on Thursday morning to receive his father’s corpse.
Prakash suffered cuts on the head, neck, torso and his face was completely damaged. Doctors in the hospital rushed him to the Intensive Care Unit in an attempt to revive him but he died around 12.15 a.m., police sources said.
GH police registered a case of murder and within hours apprehended the seven-member gang, led by Jyotilingam (50) of Tondiarpet. Jyotilingam is the father-in-law of Prakash’s associate Pallu Sekar, whom he murdered in 2012 following a rift.