Dharmarajan, the third accused in the Suryanelli sex abuse case, who had been absconding after jumping bail in 2005, was on Friday arrested from Sagar City in Shimoga district of Karnataka by a Special Investigation Team of the Kerala Police, said district police chief C. Rajagopal.

He will be produced before the Suryanelli Special Court here on Saturday.

According to police sources, Dharmarajan was arrested from a lodge near Sagar City.

Cell phone traced

The police chief said the team was assisted by the Cyber Cell that traced the cell phone to various places in Karnataka.

They said Dharmarajan reached Shimoga on Thursday night. They had also informed their Karnataka counterparts, he said.

“Following the signals from a particular the tower, we could zero in on to a nearly three-and-a-half square km area,” he said. The arrest has been formally recorded at 12.15 p.m., he said.

Warrant

The search for Dharmarajan was based on a warrant issued by the Special Court last Tuesday.

The four-member team consisted of P. Rajkumar, Circle Inspector of Police, Ponkunnam; S Nisam, Circle Inspector of Police, Ayarkunnam; Chacko Skaria, Grade Sub Inspector, Pampady; and Shibukkuttan, Civil Police Officers.

The team was led by M.J. Mathew, Deputy Superintendent of Police (Narcotics). Dharmarajan was absconding throughout the period of investigation and trial of the co-accused in the Suryanelli case. He was apprehended in 2001 from a quarry in Karnataka.

He was sentenced to life imprisonment by the Special Court the next year. However, in the 2005 High Court verdict, his term was reduced to five years. Dharmarajan then secured a bail for filing an appeal before vanishing for the past more than seven years.

The Special Court had earlier issued warrants against the convict, the last one being in 2010.

However, those warrants were returned as the addressee was missing.

The latest attempt in the search came after Dharmarajan gave an interview to a TV channel wherein he had “revealed” that he had taken Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien to Kumily on the day when the latter had allegedly sexually assaulted the Surynelli girl at the Kumily Rest House.

Planned arrest

Staff Correspondent adds from Shimoga: The arrest of Dharmarajan was carefully planned by the Kerala police. Even the local police were not aware of the operation.

Koushalendra Kumar, Superintendent of Police of Shimoga district, told presspersons here on Friday that he had no information on the arrest.

“I came to know about the arrest only through television channels,'’ he said.

Mr. Kumar said the sleuths of Kerala police had arrived at Sagar city on Thursday. They told the local police that they were on the lookout for a criminal and would seek their help, if necessary. “Later there was no communication from the Kerala Police,” he added.

A senior police officer on condition of anonymity told The Hindu that Dharmarajan was staying in Sagar from past three days and had visited few temples there.

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