At 56, M. Ravanan alias ‘Ganja’ Ravanan, has already spent close to 40 of his years behind bars.
A notorious drug peddler from P.K. Colony in Pulianthope, Ravanan tops the city’s crime records with the highest number of cases against an individual male – a whopping 150. He has been detained under the Goondas Act a record 19 times, possibly the highest number of times the Act has been used against anyone in the State.
The Hindu managed to get a few minutes with Ravanan, who has been labelled ‘extremely hard to track’ by the city police, just outside the Special Court for Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances at Madras High Court a few days ago.
All of 5’1”, Ravanan was waiting for a verdict in four narcotic cases against him after being released on bail last Saturday in another case.
Since the judge was on sick leave, Ravanan said the thought of a few more days of freedom was blissful.
“Most cases against me are framed by the police,” are practically his first words. “I’m too old to peddle drugs or indulge in waylaying. I have a severe kidney ailment and want to spend the rest of my life outside prison,” he said. ‘Ganja’ Ravanan has been booked for a few other offences as well, including one of murder in 1994.
Ravanan was born in a village in Tindivanam district. His father, Murugesan, worked with BSNL, laying cables. His mother Saroja, was a homemaker. Ravanan first entered police records in 1974 at the age of 17, for his involvement in an assault case in Periamet.
“From then on, I have been never out of prison for more than six months at a stretch,” he said with a chuckle.
Ravanan is married to a native of Dindigul and has three children, all of whom are graduates.
A senior police officer, who has arrested Ravanan on numerous occasions, said he was an escape artist. “When he spots police officers, he holds his lungi between his teeth, makes a dash and leaps from building to building. He can rarely be chased down. He claims to have reformed in the last year,” said the officer.
According to Ravanan’s advocate T. S. Srinivasan, his client has only 36 cases pending against him. “He has retired from all his wrongdoings and plans to settle down peacefully in his hometown,” he said.
Ravanan hopes to soon meet police commissioner S. George or deputy commissioner, Pulinathope, R. Sudhakar to request them to relieve him of all his pending cases so he can bid goodbye to prison.