Two days after the main accused in the Kodanadu estate murder case died in a road accident, his family has alleged conspiracy in his death. The timing of the death, relatives claim, proves that the prime suspect C Kanagaraj is being framed in the case.
Police were on the lookout for Kanagaraj, who was allegedly involved in the murder of a security guard and break in at late Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa's Kodanadu estate in Nilgiris district. Kanagaraj, 36, had served as a driver for Jayalalithaa from 2008 to 2013. He was then, according to reports, told to resign after he misused the former Chief Minister's name.
Hours after he was named as the main accused in the case, however, news emerged that he had been killed in a road accident at Attur in Salem on Friday night. Kanagaraj, who was riding his bike, was hit by a Karnataka registration car near Attur at 8.30pm on Friday.
Alleging that his brotherâ€™s death was staged, S Dhanabal says, "Kanagaraj died the night before the police claimed that he was involved in the murder. It is all timed perfectly. How will a dead man come defend himself?"
According to family members, Kanagaraj had been unwell for the past week and was suffering from kidney stones. They claim he was admitted to a local hospital. But when TNM questioned Dhanabal about the nature of treatment and hospital his brother visited, he claimed he was not aware.
"Kanagaraj had gone near Attur, to visit my aunt's granddaughter," says Dhanabal. "He parked his car there and was riding his bike, a Splendour, to a nearby area there when he met with this so-called accident," he explains. Dhanabal, who was informed about this, went to the site at around 11.30 pm.
"His bike was completely damaged. His head, back and torso were injured and he had lost so much blood," he claims. "But what was fishy was that the man in the car, had almost no injuries. Plus he had a Karnataka registration vehicle and was supposed to be travelling from Bengaluru to Perambur. What was he doing near Attur?" he asks.
As far as allegations of Kanagaraj having been expelled for misusing Jayalalithaa's name is concerned, the family alleges it was a 'political conspiracy' and that he was â€śalways loyal to Amma and Chinammaâ€ť.
Dhanabal, who is also part of the AIADMK, claims Kanagaraj was removed to stop his growing influence within the party. "The very leader who is Chief Minister of the state now was responsible for Kanagaraj's removal from the party in 2013. Edappadi Palaniswami did not want me to get an MLA seat for Salem constituency. He thought my brother's presence in Poes Garden would give me leverage. So, they foisted wrong accusations on him and removed him from Poes Garden," he adds.
The family further questions why the police did not come to meet Kanagaraj for an enquiry if they suspected him. "This is all politically motivated. The police are just trying to find a scapegoat for this crime and close the case. Unfortunately, my brother was the victim chosen here," says Dhanabal.
Strangely enough, another accused in the case - KV Sayan also met with an accident near Palakkad in Kerala. While his wife and child succumbed to injuries, he is currently undergoing treatment and is said to be stable.