Eyewitnesses to the gruesome attack in GH’s ward 134 said the victim’s son tried to stop the gang but was pushed away. A ward boy who came in was also threatened by the men

Wednesday night started out like any other, in ward 134 of the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital. Patients and their attendants had just dozed off around 10.15 p.m., when a gang entered, chased, and viciously hacked a 40-year-old male patient.

The few patients who were awake, had not realised what was going on, thinking the men were visitors. It was only when the victim began screaming that they realised a murder was being committed in front of them.

Chennai GH murder - graphic (PDF)

On Thursday, a pool of dried blood and wads of blood-stained gauze near the bed were the only indications of the attack.

The victim, R. Prakash had been admitted to the hospital’s male medical ward on the third floor of tower block 1 on March 1. He was to be discharged in two days. “He had been admitted for muscle pain, hypertension and coronary artery disease and was awaiting investigations,” said a senior nurse who was on duty on Thursday at the ward.

“Patients in this ward are considered critically ill,” she added.

R. Sheela, (name changed) a native of Villupuram, said she had not paid much attention to the victim. She was there to take care of her father, who had been at the hospital for the past week. On Wednesday night, she saw two men enter the ward. “Most of us had gone to bed by then,” she said.

The men spoke to the victim. Then another five men came in and suddenly, there was noise and commotion. One man had masked his face with a handkerchief and another was wearing a checked shirt. The man who began the attack was carrying a long knife,” she added.

Two other male patients said their beds were close to the door, but they did not see much as they had been asleep. Some patients said there was only one nurse on duty and even she had left the room with a sheaf of papers a little before the attack. The screams of the other patients brought the hospital staff running in, they added.

The ward, with 36 beds, is situated along a long corridor on the northern end of the tower, facing Central Station. Prakash had occupied the bed next to a window, facing the road.

After the incident, patients and their attendants were shifted to a ward on the second floor.

GRAPHIC ELEMENTS

Timeline

4 p.m. - Two men walk into the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital's male medical ward (134) and inquire about a man, Prakash, who was admitted on March 1

10.10 p.m. - The duo come back with five others and look for Prakash in the hospital. All 7 are armed with long knives and sickles

10.15 p.m. - The men cover their faces with handkerchiefs and approach Prakash, after pushing away his teenage son who tries to protect his

father

10.16 p.m. - Prakash, realising his life is in danger, tries to run across the ward. The gang chases and corners him and hacks him brutally. Other patients flee in fear.

10.20 p.m. - Prakash's son shouts for help but only a ward boy runs in who is threatened away by the gang. The men stroll away from

the scene

10.30 p.m. - Security guards come in after the teenager runs to another floor and screams for help

10.40 p.m. - Doctors attempt to treat and resuscitate Prakash, who is bleeding heavily

12.15 p.m. - Doctors declare Prakash dead

Victim profile

R. Prakash (40), was a resident of Ammani Amman Koil Street in Tondiarpet. A history-sheeter, he was involved in four murder cases, six attempt to murder cases and a number of assaults.He was a long-time associate of history-sheeter Pallu Sekar, whom he murdered in mid 2012 following a dispute over the sharing of kickbacks. He was booked under the Goondas Act, and jailed. He was only released at the end last year. Relatives say Prakash owned a lorry and rented out a house he owned. However, he was primarily involved in extortion and in kangaroo courts. He lived with his wife Malar, and their 16-year-old son and nine-year-old daughter.

Motive

N. Jyothilingam, the gang leader, was the father-in-law of Pallu Sekar, whom Prakash had murdered in a lorry shed in Red Hills in 2012, following a dispute. Jyothilingam wanted to avenge his son-in-law's death and so called in the six men, some of whom were Sekar's friends, to murder Prakash.

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