An officer from a special branch of TN police was found dead at Vijayanagaram in Tirunelveli district on Sunday night. He, along with five other officers, were attempting to catch illegal sand miners in the act, when he was killed. District police suspect that a three-member gang of the sand mafia in the region are responsible for the murder.
Thirty-three-year-old Jagadeesan was a constable attached to the Vijayanagaram police station. According to reports, five officers had been deployed to gather information about illegal sand mining in the region on Sunday night. On Monday morning, the other officers reportedly noticed that Jagadeesan had not returned and went in search of him. They found the constable dead with injuries to his head. He also seemed to have been assaulted. A metal weapon, which looks like a hammer, and a torch were found near the body.
His bike was found toppled at the site as well.
The police have now detained three suspects are quizzing them on the death.
Police sources claim that Jagadeesan was an honest and upright officer. He was known to be a go-getter amongst his colleagues. He is survived by his 27-year-old wife and three-year-old son. The Tamil Nadu government has announced a solatium of Rs.10 lakh for his family.
Tamil Nadu has been subject to rampant illegal sand mining. Several activists have alleged in the past that state government has remained a mute spectator to illegal mining and smuggling of sand. The Tamil Nadu Sand Lorry Owners Association has even accused the public works department (PWD) and police officials of conniving with politicians in the seven government-run sand quarries and rivers in Tamil Nadu.
According to the public works department, 5500-6000 truck-loads of sand, with 200 cubic feet of sand in each, are mined on a daily basis. But reports suggest that actual damage could be much higher.