Incident took place at a private lodge

One person was shot dead when a five-member gang attacked a special police during a search at a private lodge here on Monday evening.

Acting on a tip-off, the special police team attempted to enter two rooms to secure the suspects in the kidnapping of Kathiravan, a panchayat union councillor of Bogalur in Ramanathapuram district.

According to the police, when the team tried to enter the rooms, it was attacked. Some gang members pushed Inspector Jayachandran on to the steps. He was injured on his leg. The police party opened fire, injuring one of the suspects.

It secured three persons, Varichiyur Selvam and his accomplices, Varghese and Ajit. Another aide, Biju, escaped. Initially, the police team tried to take all the four, including the wounded man, to Madurai for interrogation. When the condition of the injured turned critical, he was admitted to the Dindigul Government Hospital where he succumbed.

The deceased was identified as Sinoj of Kerala by police sources.

When contacted, Madurai Superintendent of Police Asra Garg said that he was on his way to Dindigul to inspect the scene of crime and question the police inspectors.

Lodge officials refused to divulge any information and did not allow anyone inside. Initially, the local police too did not know about the incident. On hearing the sound of firing, the people in neighbourhood had alerted them.

Police sources said DMK secretary and councillor Kathiravan had lodged a complaint recently that a gang kidnapped him in a car. The accused had claimed that they would release him only when Ramanathapuram MP J. K. Ritheesh Kumar asked them to. Later, the gang released him. A case was registered by the Tirumangalam police against the MP and others on the charge of kidnapping. Five special teams were formed to nab the accused, who, according to the police, were habitual offenders. Mr. Garg too had summoned the MP for an enquiry.

Special team

The special team, which went to Kerala in search of the accused, reached Dindigul by tracking calls made from the mobile phone.

Human rights activists in southern districts, including People's Watch, condemned the shooting and termed it a murder.