SRM University chancellor Pachamuthu arrested in cheating case

August 26, 2016 02:02 pm | Updated August 27, 2016 08:18 am IST - Chennai

SRM University chancellor T.R. Pachamuthu who was arrested on Friday. Photo; M.Vedhan

SRM University chancellor T.R. Pachamuthu who was arrested on Friday. Photo; M.Vedhan

The Chennai Central Crime Branch police on Friday arrested SRM University chancellor T.R. Pachamuthu alias Pari Vendhar after an overnight interrogation at the Old Police Commissionerate office in Egmore in connection with cases of cheating filed by parents of some medical course aspirants and the mysterious disappearance of film producer Madhan.

Late in the evening, he was produced before the Saidapet Judicial Magistrate XI after being examined by doctors since afternoon. However, till late in the evening, he was not remanded in judicial custody with his lawyers pressing for bail on health grounds.

The police had questioned Mr. Pachamuthu, who also heads the Indhiya Jananayaga Katchi (IJK), which allied with the BJP in the 2014 Lok Sabha and 2016 Tamil Nadu Assembly elections, after being rapped by the Madras High Court recently for shoddy investigation.

The court had specifically asked the police why Mr. Pachamuthu, a suspect in the case, was not questioned and warned that the probe would be transferred to an external agency. Mr. Pachamuthu came under the scanner soon after his close aide and founder of Vendhar Movies Madhan had gone missing in late May after leaving behind a ‘suicide’ note in which he claimed to have deposited money collected from MBBS aspirants with the SRM group of institutions.

While Mr. Pachamuthu filed a complaint accusing Madhan of having illegally collected the money, over 110 parents had approached the police claiming to have given Rs. 50 lakh each on the promise of being admitted to the MBBS course.

There’s evidence of cheating: Police

The Chennai Central Crime Branch police, which had interrogated SRM University chancellor T.R. Pachamuthu till midnight on Thursday and again on Monday morning, said they found prima facie evidence of his involvement in cheating gullible students to the tune of Rs. 75 crore. They booked him for offences under Sections 406 (Punishment for criminal breach of trust.), 420 (Cheating) and 34 (Acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) of the Indian Penal Code.

Soon after his arrest around noon, he was taken to the Government Royapettah General Hospital where he was thoroughly examined by doctors at the request of the investigating officer. A heavy posse of police cordoned off the entire the hospital. Nearly three hours later, he was taken to the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital where cardiologists examined him.

A senior doctor at the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital said Mr. Pachamuthu had been referred to the hospital from the Government Royapettah Hospital for an opinion, with a history of chest pain and an angiogram report. “He was not admitted. He was taken to the CCU of the cardiology department where he underwent investigations including an ECG, echo test and a treadmill test. All tests results were found to be normal and he was sent back to Government Royapettah Hospital,” she said.

Again, Mr. Pachamuthu was taken back to the Government Royapettah Hospital to undergo further examination. Around 8.30 pm, after doctors certified him to be medically fit, he was taken to the residence of the judicial magistrate at judicial officers’ quarters in Saidapet for remand where his lawyers filed petitions opposing his arrest.

The story so far:

June 1 – Vendhar Movies proprietor Madhan’s wife Sindhu lodges complaint with City Police Commissioner that her husband has been missing since May 28. Earlier, Madhan had left behind a ‘suicide’ note in which he also claims money collected from some MBBS aspirants had been given to the SRM University.

June 4 - The Central Crime Branch receives complaints from 16 parents who claimed to have paid money to Madhan for MBBS seats.

June 6 - Madhan’s mother files a habeas corpus petition in the Madras High Court seeking a direction to the Virugambakkam police to trace and produce her son.

June 14 - T.R. Pachamuthu, founder of SRM group of institutions and Indhiya Jananayaga Katchi (IJK), lodges a complaint with the Central Crime Branch of the Chennai City Police against Madhan accusing him of having illegally taken money from students to secure seats for them in the institution.

July 24 - Parkavan Pachamuthu, a member of the IJK’s medical wing, and the party’sMadurai unit functionary Shanmugam arrested for cheating people by promising to get them medical college seats in the SRM group of institutions.

August 18 - A Division Bench of Madras High Court questions why Pachamuthu has not been interrogated in the case and warns the State police that investigation in the case would be transferred to an external agency if "shoddy" probe continues.

August 25 – Police summons Pachamuthu for interrogation at the Old Police Commissionerate. Interrogation continues overnight.

August 26 – Police find prima facie evidence of Pachamuthu’s involvement in the collection of money and formally arrests him.

(With additional inputs from Zubeda Hamid)

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