The planned, cold-blooded manner in which the panchayat president was attacked and murdered has shocked relatives and acquaintances of the victim.

But the police are yet to nab the prime suspect in an earlier, similar murder attempt against M. Shankar and his brother M. Vasu.

The suspect, Anandan, is a cousin of the brothers and had contested for the post of panchayat president of Sethupattu village but lost to Shankar. Personal enmity and business rivalry is suspected behind the attacks and subsequent murder of the panchayat president.

‘Kodi’ Damodaran, a councillor of Tambaram municipality who rushed to the spot after the attack on Thursday, could not believe his distant relative Shankar was no more.

“They ate at my place and left around 2.30 p.m. I cannot believe that in less than an hour and that too, so close to their home, they were attacked,” he said.

After finishing some work in the morning, Shankar and Vasu, along with the driver of the hired car, had stopped for lunch at Damodaran’s house in Selaiyur.

The brothers were into stone quarrying, real estate and related businesses.

Last November, after an unsuccessful bid on their lives, they acquired a licensed pistol and restricted their movement, travelling mostly in hired vehicles.

Eleven men were arrested after the last attack. The last known confirmed movement of Anandan was in Chennai recently but the police failed to track him after that.

A senior police officer suspected the involvement of hired mercenaries from the southern districts in the attack.

More In: Chennai | News