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Fruit vendor hacked to death in Choolai

D. Madhavan
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Gang of 4 on motorcycles attacked 48-year-old with sickles, knives

K. Velu
K. Velu

A 48-year-old fruit vendor was hacked to death by a four-member gang in Choolai, north Chennai, on Wednesday night.

His teenaged sons were witness to the gruesome act that shocked traders, commuters and passers-by on Andiappan Street in Choolai.

According to the police, around 8.45 p.m. on Wednesday, K. Velu, who sold fruits on a pushcart near the Choolai bus terminus, was going about his business when four persons came on two motorcycles and attacked him with sickles and knives. They sped away immediately.

Velu’s sons, aged 14 years and 12 years, were visiting their father at the time.

“After the attack, I pulled my crying brother and we ran to a nearby shop for cover,” said V. Bhupathi.

A few traders and shopkeepers took Velu to the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital. He had sustained serious head injuries and doctors said he was ‘brought dead’.

A case of murder has been filed by the Periyamet police. “Four special police teams have been formed to nab the culprits. We are probing various angles, including business rivalry,” said a police officer.

Velu came to Chennai as a 15-year-old and had been selling fruits in the north Chennai locality since. Over the years, he prospered and branched out into wholesale trade, selling fruits in big markets in north Chennai, the police said.

In the evenings, Velu sold from his pushcart and his children usually accompanied him. “He was a well-known trader in the locality and was friendly with other traders and neighbours,” said D. Shankar, a trader.

The police said, in recent years, Velu had also begun lending money to traders, small businessmen and neighbours.

“He was very strict when it came to collecting interest and reclaiming the loan amount. We are probing if enmity could be the reason behind the murder,” said the officer.

Velu was also a money lender. The police are probing if any of his financial transactions

could have led

to the murder

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