K.N. Ramajeyam, younger brother of K.N. Nehru, former Transport Minister and Tiruchi district secretary of Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, was brutally murdered, apparently after he was abducted by unidentified assailants from the posh Thillai Nagar in the city on Thursday.

Ramajeyam, aged 50, was suspected to have been intercepted when he went for his morning walk. He left home around 5.15 a.m.

Hours later, his body was found in a bush on the banks of the Cauvery near Thiruvalarsolai, on the outskirts. Police sources said his wife had received a call from Ramajeyam's mobile phone, but the caller disconnected it quickly. His body, spotted by a police patrol team a few hours later, bore severe head injuries. He was found gagged and his hands and legs were tied.

Tension prevailed in the Thillai Nagar area and in front of the GH as a large number of party cadres thronged his house and the hospital. Shops and commercial establishments in and around Thillai Nagar put up the shutters. Some schools remained closed for the day.

Mr. Nehru, who rushed from Chennai to the hospital, was seen crying inconsolably. Emotions ran high as party cadres damaged signboards and furniture at the hospital mortuary, while a few threw stones at the window panes of a nursing students' hostel.

Ramajeyam had been cited an accused and was arrested with Mr. Nehru in two cases of land grab, including the case in which he was charged with forcibly acquiring land for the Kalaignar Arivalayam, the party office in the city.

Ramajeyam was into granite export and other businesses. He headed the G. Narayanan Educational Trust, which is running the CARE group of educational institutions in the city. He was also the president of the Tamil Nadu Basketball Association. Though Ramajeyam did not hold any position in the DMK, he was seen as a power centre in the party.

Ramajeyam is survived by his wife, son Vineeth and daughter Janani.