Murder suspect Solamalai Muthu has told investigators that dejection over being demoted to the post of gate-keeper from assistant security officer at Madras Race Club (MRC) provoked him to murder S. Aruna, additional secretary at MRC, on Wednesday night.

He was remanded to custody and lodged in Puzhal prison on Thursday.

Sources with the investigation team said Solamalai (33), a native of Karaikudi, got a job at MRC in 2001 by virtue of his father being employed at the residence of a top-level club member. In time, Solamalai rose to the post of assistant security officer. His good run ended on July 11, 2012, when an Anna Nagar-based financier was murdered at the MRC parking lot.

“Following the murder, the MRC management, which included Aruna, demoted Solamalai, while suspending over 100 of his colleagues in the security department. He was posted to an MRC facility on Five Furlong Road nearby as gate-keeper,” said a senior officer.

After this, Solaimalai joined the union members in their protests against the club management, and sought the reinstatement of the suspended security personnel, police sources added.

Aruna, a long-serving member of MRC, was targeted because she had several run-ins with union members. She earned their ire on August 31, 2012 at a meeting that discussed issues pertaining to employee benefits. Aruna then lodged a complaint with the Guindy police, stating that she and her car driver were assaulted by the union members and that they also snatched her 10-sovereign gold chain.

She later went to court complaining about lack of police action in the matter. Following this, a few union members were arrested in October.

On Wednesday evening, Solamalai slipped in with a knife, along with horseracing enthusiasts, as crowds thronged MRC for race day. He waited near the Bobbili Venkatagiri stand and when Aruna walked towards her car, he intercepted her. “Solamalai grabbed her by the hair and when a security guard tried to intervene, he kicked him away. He slit Aruna’s throat and stabbed her multiple times on the chest and stomach, killing her on the spot,” said an MRC official. The gruesome murder was captured by a CCTV camera at the facility.

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