In what could be termed a major development in the Merc accident case, reliable police sources on Thursday hinted at the possibility of main suspect Shaji Purushothaman surrendering in the next few days.
This news comes at a time when speculations are rife about Shaji’s whereabouts. His credit card transactions and cell phone signals seem to indicate that he could be in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. However, immigration officers at Chennai airport have informed the police that the scion of Empee Group has not fled the country.
“We gave a ‘lookout’ notice to Chennai airport on May 25. Considering he might have flown abroad from any of the other airports, we are collecting details from them,” said a police officer.
Meanwhile, during an enquiry at a traffic investigation office, M.P. Purushothaman allegedly pleaded ignorance about his son Shaji’s whereabouts, but has assured the police of full co-operation in solving the case. He is believed to have promised to ask his son to surrender. “He was very cooperative,” said a police officer.
The founder of Empee Group arrived at the Anna Nagar traffic investigation office in a grey Innova, at 11 a.m. on the dot for the enquiry into the whereabouts of his son Shaji, who is at large since the May 23 car accident in Egmore that left a 13-year-old boy dead and four injured.
Mr. Purushothaman went to the second floor of the building where the traffic investigation office is located.
“In response to his anticipatory bail, the court had asked him to appear for the enquiry. He was very punctual,” said a police officer.
Mr. Purushothaman, clad in white, was surrounded by a group of advocates, his counsel Paul Kanagaraj and a friend. The enquiry started a few minutes after 11 a.m. and went on till 1 p.m. Only Purushothaman’s counsel was allowed to go along with him.
Sources said the traffic police including R. Dhinakaran, joint commissioner traffic (south), interrogated Mr. Purushothaman about Shaji’s whereabouts. “We prepared a questionnaire and he patiently answered all the questions. We recorded the entire session,” said a senior police officer.
Bail pleas rejected
A Sessions Court on Thursday dismissed bail petitions filed by the three men who travelled with Shajii.
R.M. Kumar alias ‘Kudirai’ Kumar, Anil Rao and Syed Anwar, arrested in the case, moved the VI Additional Sessions Court for bail. Public Prosecutor S. Shunmugavelayutham submitted that when police officers in a patrol vehicle stopped the Mercedes and asked its occupants not to drive rashly, the three men said Shaji was the son of a VIP and could tackle any situation. Shaji allegedly drove the vehicle in a rash and negligent manner and caused the accident.
Following submissions, Judge N. Kaliyamurthy dismissed the bail petitions.