: S. Manikandan (43), one of the four persons wanted by police in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh in more than 150 vehicle theft cases, was shot in the leg and nabbed by the Salem city police around midnight on Tuesday.
Manikandan and the other accused belong to Poolankudi in Sengottai taluk in Tirunelveli district.
City Police Commissioner A. Amalraj said police shot Manikandan in the leg as he opened fired at them near the Salem Divisional Railway Manager’s office here. “Search is on for two accomplices who escaped from the spot”, the Commissioner said.
Special teams led by an Assistant Commissioner of Police and three inspectors were formed to probe the theft of seven four-wheelers in the city this year. “The teams were checking vehicles on the road from the railway junction to Reddypatti when a speeding car with Maharashtra registration (MH-04-CJ-4242) was blocked by the police”, he said.
“The police were recovering knives, sickles and wooden logs from it when a second car with Karnataka registration (KA-51-A-6990) that came there a little later stopped a few metres ahead as the occupants saw the police. They also tried to change direction in a hurry and flee when the police rushed towards them. Two occupants escaped”, he added.
Manikandan, who was in the back seat, opened fire at the police and tried to escape. In retaliation, Inspector M. Saravanan shot him in his left leg.
This injured was being treated in the Salem government hospital, the Commissioner said. The vehicles, weapons and mobile phones found were seized.
An inquiry revealed that one vehicle was taken at gun-point in Karnataka and the other stolen from a house near Pallapatti in Salem four days ago. The second one’s registration number was changed to conceal its identity. Their gang was also involved in the theft of nine other four-wheelers in Alagapuram, Pallapatti and Sooramangalam police limits in the city from 2012, police said.
“They stole heavy trailers and four-wheelers, changed the registration numbers before selling them. There are 95 cases against Manikandan in Maharashtra and he had evaded arrest for months,” Mr. Amalraj said and added efforts were under way to recover the other stolen vehicles.