A lorry driver was beheaded by three youths at Moontradaippu on the Tirunelveli – Nagercoil National Highway in a case of mistaken identity on Sunday night.

Police said the beheaded body of M. Ganesan (26) of Moontradaippu was found lying opposite a spinning mill near his hamlet on the Tirunelveli – Nagercoil National Highway on Monday morning. Ganesan, who left his house at 5.30 p.m. on Sunday, spoke to his father Murugan around 8.30 p.m., saying that he would be back home at around 9 p.m. as he had to go to Tiruchi, the same night.

When he did not come to his house even after 9 p.m., his father repeatedly tried to reach him, but in vain. Frightened over this development, Murugan filed a complaint with the Moontradaippu police.

After prolonged search for Ganesan, based on the inputs they managed to collect from the people, the police recovered the beheaded body of Ganesan from the bushes, on Monday morning.

Even as investigations were going on, S. Esakki Pandi (18), M. Rengan (21) and N. Ayyappan (19), all hailing from Paanaankulam under Nanguneri police station limits, surrendered before Tiruchendur Judicial Magistrate Court in connection with the murder of Ganesan.

Trio surrenders

The trio told the court while producing themselves that one Velmani (21), a Dalit from Vaagaikulam near Nanguneri, filed a case against them recently after quarrel over a trivial issue. When Esakki Pandi, Ayyappan and Rengan, who went underground following the filing of the case against them under the provisions of Protection of Civil Rights Act, came to Moontradaippu on Sunday evening in search of Velmani as he used to spend his evenings at a particular place, they saw Ganesan standing at a distance.

Mistaking him for Velmani, the assailants murdered Ganesan and chopped off his head, the police said.