With Shaji Purushothaman eluding the police dragnet for over 10 days, efforts to find him have intensified.
The scion of the Empee Group is wanted in a case where he allegedly drove a Mercedes in a drunken state and hit children sleeping on a pavement in Egmore, killing one and injuring two others.
In a Tuesday afternoon raid, the city police descended on Empee Tower, the corporate office of the Empee Group, on Harris Road in Pudupet, and searched for clues to Shaji’s whereabouts.
During their three-hour-long stay at the establishment, the police team led by an assistant commissioner questioned staff members and examined documents. None of the officers in charge of the probe was available for comment.
The raid follows unsuccessful attempts by special teams — under the supervision of R. Dhinakaran, joint commissioner of police, traffic (south) — to locate him in Kerala and Karnataka.
Meanwhile, the police have opposed the bail petitions of two of Shaji’s friends — Anil Rao (33) and Syed Anwar (25) — who have been arrested in the case. On Tuesday, in a counter to their pleas, the assistant commissioner of police, traffic investigation, said in the Sessions Court that these two friends of Shaji’s were highly influential and might tamper with the evidence.
Despite knowing their action was likely to result in the deaths of innocent people, they urged the prime accused, who was driving under the influence of alcohol, to go ‘as fast as an aeroplane’, he said. This was established with the help of oral evidence and statements recorded from the two accused, he said.
Further, the accused had failed to inform the police about the accident or arrange for medical aid to the victims, the police’s counter said.
“Being highly influential persons, they may tamper with the evidence and (influence) witnesses. The investigation is not over and Shaji is still at large,” the police said.
The bail petitions of the two, along with those of Shaji and R.M. Kumar alias ‘Kudirai’ Kumar (who was initially suspected to have been at the wheel of the Mercedes when the accident occurred), are likely to come up for hearing before the VI Additional Sessions Court on Wednesday.