Former Minister in the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) government K.K.S.S.R. Ramachandran was arrested on Tuesday in connection with a murder of a postmaster in 2007.

He has been charged with destruction of evidence (Section 201 of Indian Penal Code) and criminal conspiracy (120 B) read with murder (302). However, Mr. Ramachandran said he was falsely implicated, adding that he would face it legally with the support of the DMK leadership and cadre. “I do not know what the charge against me is,” he told reporters at Madurai airport before he was formally arrested.

Mr. Ramachandran, DMK's Virudhunagar district secretary, has been absconding ever since his confidant and Aruppukottai union secretary Shahul Hameed was arrested on March 31, even as his anticipatory bail was pending before the Madras High Court Bench in Madurai.

The case pertains to the death of postmaster Lakshmanan on September 30, 2007, in the Irukkangudi police station limits. “Though there was enough evidence to show that it was a clear case of murder, the investigating officers – Inspectors of Police and Deputy Superintendents of Police – were influenced by Mr. Ramachandran (who was then a Minister in the M. Karunanidhi Cabinet),” Virudhunagar Superintendent of Police Najmul Hoda said.

The case was recently reopened by the Madurai Superintendent of Police, Asra Garg (who was holding additional charge of Virudhunagar district). The police arrested Shahul Hameed along with Lakshmanan's wife, Mariammal. “Lakshmanan was murdered because of the illicit affair Shahul Hameed had with Mariammal,” he added. He was hit on his head with an iron rod and later run over with a vehicle, killing him on the spot. Shahul Hameed and Mariammal were picked up by the police on March 31. They allegedly confessed to having murdered Lakshmanan. In his statement, Shahul Hameed is also alleged to have revealed how Mr. Ramachandran, a seven-time MLA, had influenced the police officials. Two DSPs, and two Inspectors said they came under sustained pressure from the Minister not to investigate the case and to close it as undetected, Mr. Hoda said.

“Medical Officer Shanthi, who had performed the post-mortem examination, also said she was pressured by Mr. Ramachandran to give a report that it was an accident,” he added.

Earlier, hundreds of DMK workers shouted slogans against the State government when Mr. Ramachandran arrived in Madurai from Chennai. Mr. Ramachandran was remanded in judicial custody till April 24. The police was directed to lodge him in the Madurai Central prison.

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