Crime

A smiling don holds a machete as he’s about to cut his birthday cake. Happy men surround him, some fawning over the don, others clearly waiting for the cake. Later, the don poses with his lackeys for a photo as some of them get ready to take some selfies as well. Happy scene straight out of a movie? Well, this happened in Chennai on Tuesday night – and what followed was even more filmy.

The party was gatecrashed by 100 Chennai police officers, who nabbed 76 of the criminals in the next nine hours. The goons were gathered to celebrate the birthday of P Binu – an underworld don who was making a comeback.

Binu, who has over 28 cases against him and had been absconding for two years was being welcomed back to the underworld by his friends and associates, with a party to celebrate his 47th birthday.

Around 200 criminals including henchmen and sub-bosses, who had cases ranging from murders, and abduction to extortion, were gathered at Velu Lorry Shed, a truck shop off the Outer Ring road.

The menu included biriyani, a birthday cake and loads of beer. The party was bustling with fireworks and party poppers set off, and Binu was even given a machete instead of a regular knife to cut his cake, one reminiscent of the famous cake cutting scene in Rajinikanth’s Kabali.

‘Operation Birthday’, as it has been named, had around 100 police personnel surrounding the spot, near Malavambakkam village. Some even swam or rafted across the Chembarambakkam lake.

How did they know the underworld had a massive party on? It was a chance tip-off that the police decided to act on immediately.

The police received the tip off on the party during a routine vehicle check, when they intercepted Pallu Madan, who was riding to the party. He was taken away for interrogation when the police realised that Madan was involved in an assault and extortion case.

Madan then revealed that the party was to begin at 9 pm. He was released by 6 pm and the police formed over 60 special teams and arrived in Malavambakkam by 11 pm.

"The police team had only half hour to plan the operation," says Chennai city police commissioner AK Viswanathan to TNM. "We had arrested a gang member in another case and he revealed that this birthday celebration was being planned. Four people escaped but we managed to catch 75 people at the venue. Of this, two were juveniles and three were people who were present but not involved in any criminal activity."

But the party wasn’t a complete success for the police. The big fish – birthday boy Binu himself – managed to escape.

"P Binu was one of the few people who escaped from the venue. We have already sent police teams to get hold of him. One hundred police officers were involved in this operation," Viswanathan added.

The police held 40 men at gunpoint over 9 hours and detained 60 others after chasing and nabbing them as they fled the birthday party. 76 of the men were sent to jail and the others were let off. The police even seized 4 cars, 45 motorcycles and even swords and sickles from the arrested.