His name is Srinivasan. However, for many, including members of the city police force, this 81-year-old thief is ‘silver’ Srinivasan.
He earned the moniker by targeting only silver articles. He carried out a large number of thefts in agraharams over a period of 50 years. He showed up on the police radar after stealing a silver glass at a wedding in Tiruchi, his native town. He has more than 120 cases against him, all for stealing silver objects from households across the State. In his last outing a month ago, Srinivasan stole silver valuables from a house in MKB Nagar in north Chennai.
Apart from petty criminals and small-time repeat offenders, gangsters too get nicknames to distinguish them from others with the same names.
‘Powder’ Ravi of Vyasarpadi in north Chennai got his nickname for selling narcotic substances in the city for decades. ‘Sketch’ Ravi got his after he proved himself adept at masterminding murders. These crimes were invariably executed by his gang or associates.
“The reason we give monikers to criminals is mainly for identifying two who share a name. They might have been involved in different crimes at different places. So, having monikers helps avoid mistaking one offender for the other,” said a senior police officer.
A nickname is often derived from a criminal’s physical features.
‘Kolikal’ Vicky from north Chennai, arrested last week along with two of his associates while planning a murder, got his nickname from the fact that his legs are extremely thin. His legs are being compared to those of a chicken’s.
“Gopi got his nickname as he has always been fond of boiled eggs. We came to know of this through his associates and he became ‘Muttai’ Gopi. Likewise, years of paan-chewing by Ravi Kumar, another gangster, made him bucktoothed. So, he is referred to as ‘Bokka’ Ravi in the police records,” said a police officer.
Some others, like ‘Madurai’ Senthil, who was involved in murder cases in the city, are named after their places of origin. ‘Mint’ Ramesh, who has more than a dozen criminal cases involving assault, kidnap and theft against him, is a resident of the north Chennai locality. ‘Tambaram Market’ Shiva, who earlier had a shop there, has been involved in cases of extortion. ‘Burma’ Ganesan, who is a Tamil repatriate from erstwhile Burma, got his name after he settled in north Chennai.
But ‘Tokyo’ Mani does not belong to Japan. He got that moniker because many people think he looks like someone from that country, the police say. Mani is a notorious gangster from Redhills.