Gang leader among two arrested from venue
Heavy machete seized from suspectsAccused to be produced in court today
Thiruvananthapuram: The city police arrested two persons, including an alleged gang leader owing allegiance to the Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI), following a hoax call that `persons carrying bombs were present' at Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan's public meeting at Putharikandam Maidan on Thursday evening.
The suspects, `Goondukadu' Shabu and Rajan, were arrested from the venue minutes after the police got the anonymous call from a telephone booth at East Fort around 7 p.m. Mr. Achuthanandan was winding up his speech when the alarming call was received at the Police Control Room and he left the venue as scheduled earlier.
Assistant Commissioner of Police (Fort) V.C. Mohanan said the suspects were standing well away from the dais. Rajan, who tried to run away, was found to be carrying a heavy machete. Mr. Mohanan said Shabu had passed the weapon to Rajan when the police approached.
Shabu is accused in several cases in the city. He was recently arrested on the charge of trying to extort money from a builder. The police have accused him of heading a criminal gang that thrives on extortion and muscle-for-money operations.
Shabu's brother, `Goondukadu' Shaji, who was murdered in 1996, had figured as accused along with some Congressmen in the case relating to the country-bomb attack on the headquarters of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) headquarters at the AKG Centre.
Shabu had switched his allegiance to the CPI(M) recently and is a member of the DYFI. He has considerable clout among the 2000 odd residents of Barton Hill colony and is the president of its residents' association. The police believe that Shabu and Rajan had come to the venue at the instance of the party's district leadership. The police said Shabu faced serious threat to his life from rival gangs and that could be the reason why he was carrying the weapon.
City Police Commissioner K. Padmakumar and Deputy Commissioner Harshita Attaluri arrived at the Fort police station following Shabu's arrest.
The suspects have been booked on the charge of violating the Arms Act. They will be produced before the court on Friday.