Questions remain after 8-hour-long investigation at Gurunath Meiyappan’s house

Mumbai crime branch officers disappeared into Gurunath Meiyappan’s Cenotaph Road residence at 9.40 a.m. on Sunday and showed up again only much later.

As the hours dragged on, the excitement was building up for a huddle of journalists waiting outside the locked gates.

With curiosity getting the better of them, some clambered on to the compound wall for a peek into the sensational search. When they did so, the guards present on the premises chided them gently. In contrast, a dog barked out an ear-splitting protest.

In the absence of reliable information, wild speculations ruled. One of them had it that Mr. Meiyappan was in the house, having been brought by the Mumbai officers.

Around mid day, two sleuths stepped out, inspected Mr. Meiyappan’s four cars parked in the driveway, and patiently ran their eyes over the visitors’ records. They seemed to go about the task with clinical precision, not pausing for a second to glance at what had now turned into a milling crowd.

The assembly included local autorickshaw drivers. “Our curiosity was aroused by the presence of cameramen. We thought a murder or burglary had taken place,” said Arumugam, an autorickshaw driver.

Some neighbours of Mr. Meiyappan’s stationed themselves on the terraces of their houses and from those vantage points, took photos of the unfolding action with camera phones. After the two officials returned to resume the search inside, a man, believed to be the caretaker of the house, came out. He rode away on a motorcycle and returned with lunch packets. He was besieged with questions by the scribes, but did not give anything away.

The search came to an end at 6.10 p.m. and the men from Mumbai came out with a carton bursting with the items they had picked up from the two-storey house, which is said to have eleven rooms.

Television journalists thrust their microphones into the car, hoping to catch some bytes. But the sleuths’ lips were sealed as tight as the carton they were carrying away. Rolling up the windows of the car, they sped away.

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