L. Srikrishna

Murders orchestrated from inside city prisons: officers

Previous enmity and gang rivalry behind killings
50 inmates at Puzhal prison identified as “notorious”

CHENNAI: Conviction means little for many criminals when it comes to continuing with their activities; police believe some of the recent killings in the city were masterminded by criminals behind bars.

It is in this backdrop that the police favour the shifting of those convicted of heinous crimes in the city to prisons elsewhere in the State.

The city has seen five murders in the last 10 days and police have said that previous enmity and gang rivalry were behind some of the killings. Police investigations also revealed that though the prime suspects were lodged in jail, they were able to do away with their rivals with the help of their accomplices.

A case in point is the murder a few day ago of ‘Boxer’ Basha in north Chennai. Investigating officers in the case suspect a life convict, serving a sentence in Cuddalore prison, to be behind the murder. Their suspicion is based on the modus operandi of the convict — beheading of the victims. Police said that the convict and the deceased Basha were colleagues in Chennai Port Trust.

Another case is the murder of 28-year-old Prashant near a temple in Tiruvanmiyur. A gang is suspected to be behind the killing, which was allegedly carried out due to previous enmity. The victim had come out of the Puzhal prison only recently. After monitoring his movement, Prashant’s former friends plotted his death, according to the police. His body was found abandoned in a canal near Neelankarai police station.

A police officer also cited the case of Krishnamurthy, an accused, who was arrested over a month ago in connection with the attempt on the life of an ICF employee in Chennai. Krishnamurthy came out on bail a week ago, only to be murdered by an armed gang in Nagercoil on Sunday.

Motive

The motive behind such murders range from difference of opinion to sharing of the stolen properties. Such disputes turned friends into foes, according to a senior police officer.

He said there were at least 50 inmates at Puzhal prison belonging to Chennai who had been identified as “notorious.” The need is to shift them out to a prison elsewhere. This, he said, would contribute to the effective maintenance of law and order.

Special Public Prosecutor for Human Rights Court V. Kannadasan said the suggestion to shift hardcore criminal elements having their base in Chennai to some other prison was welcome as it would snap their links with their accomplices, at least temporarily.

Moreover, better coordination between police and prison officials would help in effective monitoring of their activities both inside and outside the prisons, he noted.

Following the spate of murders, the police have intensified patrolling and picked up as many as 800 suspects over the last week and remanded them to custody.

Commissioner of Police Letika Saran said all the station house officers had been instructed to monitor those being released from prisons.

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