“Strong reasons to suspect communal angle in the case’’

The Crime Branch CID of the Tamil Nadu police is heading for a breakthrough in the murder of Hindu Munnani State secretary S. Vellaiyappan in Vellore on July 1. There were strong reasons to suspect a communal angle in the murder, agency sources quoting investigators said on Friday.

S. Vellaiyappan was hacked to death by a gang in Vellore town on the evening of July 1.

A few days later, Bharatiya Janata Party State general secretary Auditor Ramesh was murdered in Salem.

A Special Investigation Division comprising officers handpicked mostly from the CBCID was formed to investigate the murders.

“Eyewitnesses in the Vellore murder have identified the photographs of at least two suspects who are absconding. They (the suspects) are also wanted in other cases, including the blast triggered at Malleswaram in Bangalore. We are working in close coordination with the Karnataka and Kerala police to nab them,” a CBCID official told The Hindu.

Hanifa held

A special team of the Bangalore police on Friday arrested Hanifa alias Tenkasi Hanifa whose name figures in the Malleswaram blast case.

After obtaining a transit warrant from a Judicial Magistrate court in Tirumangalam, the team formally arrested Hanifa lodged in the Madurai central prison and took him to Bangalore for further probe.

“We suspect the involvement of some common accused persons in the Vellore murder, Advani case and Bangalore blast. The custodial interrogation of the five persons arrested in connection with the seizure of explosives at Melappayam might give fresh leads in these cases,” he said.

In a related development, the Social Democratic Party of India has condemned the police action in Melappalayam where a huge quantity of explosives was seized from a locked house and five persons were apprehended.

Police action condemned

SDPI’s trade union district president Nazir Khan said a petition was submitted to the Tirunelveli Collector accusing the police of high-handedness.

“Instead of barging into houses, the police can seek our assistance…the local people are unhappy the way police conducted searches and made enquiries with the family members of suspects,” Mr. Khan said. '

“We are ready to cooperate with the police provided they take us into confidence,” Mr. Khan added.

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