Monday, Jul 28, 2003
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By Saptarshi Bhattacharya
The Police Commissioner, K.Vijay Kumar, said the policemen opened fire "in self-defence" as they were attacked when they tried to compel Veeramani to accompany them to the police station for an enquiry in connection with complaints of extortion filed against him by local traders.
Kingsley Devanand and Vellaidurai, attached to the Marina police station, received severe injuries when they were attacked with sharp weapons. They were admitted to the Intensive Care Unit of the Government Royapettah Hospital.
Narrating the sequence of events to mediapersons here, Mr. Vijay Kumar said Veeramani "turned violent" when he was asked to come to the police station.
He and his associate were joined by others from the Ayodhyakuppam colony.
"The sub-inspectors opened four rounds. They took whatever appropriate action was possible at that juncture. They never expected Veeramani there. It was more of a chance encounter," the Commissioner said.
Even as his associates, armed with knives and sickles, were attacking the policemen, Veeramani was rushed to Apollo Hospitals where he was declared `brought dead'. "His body is kept in the Government Royapettah Hospital for post-mortem, which would be conducted as soon as the executive magistrate, nominated by the Collector, gives permission", Mr. Vijay Kumar said.
The police launched a drive to identify Veeramani's accomplices, who carried out the attack on the sub-inspectors.
Mr. Vijay Kumar said Veeramani was awarded death sentence in 1984, which was later reduced to seven years rigorous imprisonment.
He had 31 cases filed against him at various police stations in the city, five of which were murder and 11 attempt-to-murder cases. Besides, he had cases of abduction, narcotics trade, assault and extortion against him.
He was detained under the Goondas Act five times.
Meanwhile Udaya, wife of Veeramani, said her husband returned to Chennai yesterday after routine fishing trips to Cuddalore and Andhra Pradesh. This morning he was on the beach along with nine others, fixing his boat, when he was shot, she said.
Tension was palpable in the colony. Till evening, residents were seen gathered near Veeramani's house trying to pacify Udaya.
A large posse of policemen was stationed in the area.
Though the police did not perceive any threat to law and order, any backlash would be dealt with firmly, Mr. Vijay Kumar said. Shops in Royapettah area downed shutters in the wake of the killing.
In March, Rajaram and Saravanan, described as Tamil extremists, were killed in an `encounter' at Kotturpuram here.
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