TAMIL NADU

Gangster's kin allege police high-handedness

CHENNAI SEPT. 26. As many as eight persons have been killed in the past 18 months. If the killings in the previous three years were also to be included, the figure would rise to 16. It was only on July 27 that `Ayodhyakuppam' Veeramani was killed in a police shootout on the sands of the Marina, opposite the Slum Board tenement at Ayodhyakuppam, where he was staying.

In March this year, Rajaram and Saravanan, reported to be Tamil extremists, were shot dead at Kotturpuram when other members of their gang attempted to rescue them from police custody. In April last year, Sanjay Ghate, a Mumbai-based gangster was killed. The police said they fired at him after he snatched a gun from one of the sub-inspectors escorting him and shot at one of the policemen. Others killed includeMurugesan at Besant Nagar, Suresh and Stanley in North and South Chennai. At Neelankarai on the outskirts of the city, three history-sheeters, Krishnan, Govindan and Murugan, were killed after they allegedly fired at a police team, injuring three SIs in November 2002.

Meanwhile, at the Kilpauk Medical College Hospital relatives and friends of Venkatesan, who was killed in a shootout today, alleged police high-handedness in the incident. His advocate, Joel, claimed there were no grounds for shooting him and that there was no case pending against him.

Many of the inmates of the Mahalakshmi Flats, Nungambakkam, where the shootout occurred, went about their routine work. According to one of inmates, the gangsters, who were occupants of Flat No.6 on the ground floor maintained a low profile.

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