After a fortnight long investigation, police cracked the Paramakudi BJP leader murder case, arresting four persons, including two members of a mercenary gang.

A special team, headed by V. Vikraman, Additional Superintendent of Police (ASP), Mudhukulathur arrested N. Raja Mohamed (58), his nephew M. Manoharan (41) of Paramakudi and two Madurai based mercenaries ‘Vazhakai’ alias S. Rafeeq Raja (35) and A. Sahul Hameed (37).

Addressing a press conference here on Saturday, Superintendent of Police N. M. Mylvahanan, displayed the pictures of the accused in a lap top. The accused were produced before a magistrate court and remanded in judicial custody, he said.

“Probably this is the first time, a mercenary gang has been engaged to commit a murder in the district,” the SP said answering a question. The use of pipe bomb was also new to the district, he added.

K Murugan (46), a former BJP municipal councillor, was returning to his shop after having lunch at his home in the Main Bazaar around 3 p.m. on March 19, when a three member gang hurled pipe bombs and hacked him to death near a temple.

Property dispute was the motive behind the murder, the SP said adding the first accused had a decade long civil dispute with the deceased family over 6.5 acres of land at Vaigai Nagar in Paramakudi. The dispute took a violent turn, after the deceased and his brother sold the property to one Raja Rafeeq alias Raja Bai of Melur in Madurai on February 14 for about Rs 8 crore.

An infuriated Raja Mohamed and his nephew Manoharan engaged a mercenary gang by paying Rs two lakh to murder Murugan, he said.

The special team, while pursuing some definite leads hit a roadblock when Raja Mohamed, who was in Chennai, when the crime took place, told the police that he withdrew from the dispute after Raja Bai, the purchaser of the property paid him Rs 85 lakh. His nephew too claimed that he had nothing to do with the crime and created an alibi to mislead the police that he was also in Chennai on that day. He showed a train ticket, booked under Tatkal to claim that he travelled by the Sethu Express from Chennai on the night of March 19, but police investigations revealed that the ticket had been cancelled and he was very much in Paramakudi on the day of the crime, the SP said.

Mobile phones of the accused helped the investigation team track their movements, police sources said. The special team questioned more than 200 people before zeroing in on the accused.

The team found that the mercenary gang had travelled up to Tirupur before committing the murder and could have purchased the pipe bombs from Coimbatore, sources said. Examination of two of the live bombs recovered from the scene showed that the Improvised Explosive Devices (IED-Pipe bombs) were stuffed with Gel 90 explosives. The special team is investigating into this aspect, the SP said.

The SP congratulated Mr Vikraman and his team that included four Inspectors of Police—Rathinakumar, A. Jesu, Subash and Ms Amuthaselvi

He also presented cash awards to three Sub Inspectors of Police—Saravanapandi, Sabarithasan, Dhanabalan, five head constables— Ravichandran, Vellai Durai, Shanmuganathan, Nagaraj, Senthilkumar and Grade I constable Shankar who formed the special team.