Tamil Nadu

Kodanad: police obtain crucial evidence

Locals say they did not notice any suspicious activity or persons in the vicinity of the estate.   | Photo Credit: M. Sathyamoorthy

In a significant breakthrough in the dacoity at former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa’s Kodanad estate, the Nilgiris police on Wednesday obtained crucial evidence that could lead to the arrest of the suspects soon. Investigators obtained CCTV visuals of the SUVs used to commit the daring attack shortly after midnight on Monday. The footage has been referred to a private agency for analysis, police sources said.

Since the quality of visuals captured by night vision cameras were not clear enough to zoom in to identify the occupants or number plates of the vehicles, the police had sought the expertise of a Coimbatore-based IT firm in the investigation.

Special teams were tracking dozens of suspicious mobile phone numbers that were active in and around the scene of crime, the sources said.

While there is no clue yet on the details of property or documents probably taken away by the dacoits, police officials refused to describe the crime scene, particularly the rooms used by the former Chief Minister and her aide V.K. Sasikala, after the attack.

“It is true that some number plates and hand gloves were found near Kotagiri. Visuals of suspect vehicles are being perused. We hope to zero in on the suspects soon. It is too early to comment on the role of any insider …investigation is progressing in the right direction,” an officer told The Hindu.

Recalling an instance when a minor issue in the estate was resolved with the help of CCTV footage, the official who spoke on condition of anonymity said he had no idea when and why the surveillance cameras were removed from the 800-acre campus.

An investigating official said the intention of the gang was probably not to kill the private security guard since they did not inflict any injury. Even Krishna Bahadur did not suffer any major injury though he claimed that the gang sprayed an anesthetic substance on his face before thrashing him. “The motive was only to silence and make them immobile. The 51-year-old Om Bahadur appeared to have suffered suffocation and died after pieces of cloth and tapes were used to strap a portion of his face. It is too early to rule out murder for gain at this stage,” the official said.

Nilgiris District Superintendent of Police Murali Rambha was camping in Kodanad to supervise the investigation.

AIADMK (Puratchi Thalaivi Amma) leader O. Panneerselvam on Wednesday raised questions about the law and order situation in the State in the backdrop of the murder of a security guard at Jayalalithaa’s Kodanad Estate.

Public in fear: OPS

“There is a fear among people that the law and order situation in the State is not being maintained properly, considering that such a murder has taken place in Jayalalithaa’s estate itself,” he said in a statement.

The former CM said the government had a responsibility to answer a number of questions regarding the incident and to find out the truth behind the murder.

“Who were these people who were sent to the estate? There are reports that they decamped with a number of documents. What was their intention? Why is the information coming out regarding this very contrary? Are there hurdles being imposed on the police from conducting a proper investigation?”

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Printable version | Jun 19, 2021 3:57:08 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/kodanad-attack-dacoits-used-fake-number-plates-gloves/article18210723.ece

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