Days after authorities reopened the case pertaining to the death of C Kanagaraj, the driver of the former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister late J Jayalalithaa, the Sholurmattam police arrested Dhanabal, Kanagarajâ€™s brother, and his cousin, Ramesh, for allegedly destroying evidence in connection with the Kodanad heist and murder case. Both of them were presented before a local court on Monday, October 25, and remanded to judicial custody. A case has been registered against them under sections 201 and 204 (Causing disappearance or destruction of evidence of offence) and 120B (Criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
Kanagaraj was the prime accused in the murder of a security guard, Om Bahadur at the Kodanad estate, owned by Jayalalithaa, in April 2017. Kanakaraj was killed in a road accident five days after the incident, at Attur, while he was riding a two-wheeler on the Salem-Ulundurpet highway. Dhanabal and other members of Kanarajâ€™s family had alleged that he was murdered and had been demanding a detailed investigation into his death.
The Kodanad estate is a 906-acre area situated in Nilgiris district, which was owned by Jayalalithaa and her aide VK Sasikala, and used as a summer retreat. Four months after the former Chief Ministerâ€™s death and two months after Sasikala was arrested on corruption charges in 2017, burglars entered the estate and killed Om Bahadur.
A 300-page chargesheet that was filed in the case, said that a gang of eleven people, led by C Kanagaraj, who was once a driver at Jayalalithaaâ€™s Poes Garden residence, hatched a conspiracy to rob the estate as they believed a large amount of cash was stashed in the house.
Besides Kanagaraj, another accused in the case, Sayan, also met with an accident at Palakkad in Kerala in which his wife and daughter were killed. He, however, escaped with injuries. Dhinesh Kumar, a computer operator who worked at the estate, was also found dead at his residence on July 3, 2017. Sayan had alleged that the heist was done at the behest of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and senior AIADMK leader K Palaniswami.
The issue gained traction during the 2021 Assembly polls in the state, with the DMK promising that there would be a re-investigation in the case of the estate burglary and the deaths that followed.
Read: Four years, five deaths and a burglary: The Kodanad heist and murder case