A special team of the Crime Branch CID police on Saturday night seized an imported rifle that was used to murder 13-year-old Dilson on July 3. A retired Lieutenant Colonel, whose name was given as Kandasamy Ramaraj, was detained for investigation. He is suspected to have used the weapon to open fire at the unarmed teenager in the defence residential complex, police sources said.

After having narrowed down the list of suspects to just two, a serving officer and Ramaraj, the police conducted intensive interrogation. Confronted with discrepancies in his version of the events, Ramaraj, the police said, confessed to having killed the boy and thrown the weapon in the Cooum river near the Napier bridge. After intensive searches, the police recovered the 0.3 mm rifle.

“It is an imported and licensed weapon. Enquiries revealed that the retired Army officer opened fire using the rifle on Dilson after he was seen throwing stones on a tree…he lives in a residential block located close to the scene of firing,” a senior police official said. Ramaraj had retired in April 2011 from the Corps of Electrical and Mechanical Engineers.

“Disgraceful”

Earlier, General Officer Commanding and Chief of Staff (Andhra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala) Major General N.S. Jamwal said the Army would not defend or harbour criminals as it is a disciplined organisation with values.

Describing the murder of Dilson as “very disgraceful to the Army as it happened on its premises”, Mr. Jamwal in a interview to The Hindu said he was doing everything possible to bring the culprit to justice.

“No normal person will do this (opening fire on an unarmed minor)…there was no provocation at all. I will be the first to hand over the accused to the police. We are extending full cooperation to the Crime Branch CID police,” he said.

Security at the defence residential complex was outsourced to a private agency and there was no armed guard there.

Since the stock of arms and ammunition of the Army was intact, the possibility of the accused using a personal weapon, licensed or unlicensed, could not be ruled out.

“I investigated the scene and could not pinpoint the role of anybody. There is not a single eyewitness. Since there is only one residential block close to the scene of firing, police are making enquiries with a serving and a retired Army officer who live there,” he said.

Maj. Gen. Jamwal said there was no breakthrough in the internal enquiry made by Army authorities in the incident.

“After the investigation is over, we will take steps to reinstate the confidence of local people (residents of Indira Gandhi Nagar) in the Army. The local community and the Army live together here,” he said

Visual evidence

The CB-CID police examined video footage taken immediately after the firing. “We got video footage from different sources,” a CB-CID official said.