Read latest developments here: Murder or accident? Jayalalithaa's ex-driver linked with Kodanadu crime found dead
Police have detained seven men in connection to the murder of the security guard at former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa's Kodanad estate, reports Times of India. In addition to this, they suspect that a driver who used to work for the leader could be the mastermind behind this murder and break in.
According to reports, the police have launched a hunt for the suspect, identified as Kanagaraj, from Chennai. He was reportedly sacked from the driver's post by the late Chief Minister when she found out that he was misusing her name. But he was already aware of the details of the estate in Nilgiris district and has visited it multiple times in the past. Of the seven people detained, three people from Thrissur are allegedly associates of Kanagaraj.
The ToI report states that the alleged mastermind befriended Sayan of Thrissur and was working at a bakery in Coimbatore. He hatched a conspiracy with Sayan to loot the Kodanad bungalow after Jayalalithaa's death. Sayan, then reportedly arranged for a five-member gang from Thrissur.
The burglary took place on April 24 at around 1.30 am. The gang murdered 51-year-old Om Bahadur, a security guard and severely assaulted another 27-year-old guard Krishna Bahadur at the gate of the estate.
They then allegedly broke into rooms that Jayalalithaa and Sasikala used at the bungalow. It is suspected that they made away with some valuables from the estate. The registration plate on an SUV used by the gang helped police find some of its members is Thrissur.
Those detained in Thrissur include Satheeshan, 42, son of Sahadevan of Pudukkad, Deepu, 32, son of Dineshan of Kanakamala near Kodakara, and Santhosh, 40, son of Chathutty of Avittappilli. Satheeshan is reportedly a labourer, Deepu is a tipper driver and Santhosh a temple priest. There are reports that four others were arrested from Malappuram district, but their names were not available. Police plan to bring all seven to Nilgiris district on Saturday.
The sprawling 800-acre estate has several gates and six other security guards were on duty during the break in. There were however no visits made to the estate, following Sasikala's arrest in February. Former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa used the estate as a summer retreat - to escape Chennai's scorching heat. It is well known that during her tenure as Chief Minister, staff were camped there for weeks at a stretch. Video conferences were often held by the Chief Minister with bureaucrats and ministers.
The property in Nilgiris district first came into the public spotlight in the 90s as part of allegations of disproportionate assets against the then AIADMK chief.