In the latest development in the investigation into Arumugam, the ‘trainer’ who pushed 19-year-old college student Logeshwari from the second floor of the Kalaimagal College of Arts and Science during a ‘disaster management training’, Coimbatore rural police have confirmed to TNM that he was a conman.
Speaking to TNM, multiple sources in the police department, pointed out that Arumugam has been visiting colleges for seven years and conducting seminars. Posing as a trainee from the National Disaster Management authority (NDMA), he has allegedly conducted workshops in over 1000 colleges across Tamil Nadu.
"He goes to the institute, claims to be from the NDMA and then carries out the training," explains a senior police official. "He attempts to recruit select students, usually upto five people as volunteers and charges them Rs.250 to join him. In addition to this, he charges Rs.50 per certificate that he gives out. This is what we have discerned from the preliminary enquiry so far. We are attempting to now find out if the qualifications he claims to have are true," he adds.
According to the website of J.K.K Nattraja Educational Institutions, where Arumugam conducted a first aid and disaster management workshop in 2018, Arumugam has multiple degrees including - M. Com., M.Sc., (Psychology), B.Ed. and M.Phil. Training Officer, National Disaster Management Authority. Police officers say Arumugham was most likely lying about all his qualifications. Coimbatore rural police have also written to NDMA to verify if he did get a diploma certificate in 2011 as he has claimed.
TNM spoke to multiple colleges that the conman had visited and the modus operandi was similar to the manner in which he approached the Kalaimagal College of Arts and Science, where Logeswari studied.
Speaking to TNM, Sundar, Principal of the Virudhunagar Hindu Nadars' Sendhikumara Nadar College confirmed that Arumugam made similar efforts, "He came to conduct a class last year. He said he was from NDMA and the state or district level. He gave his ID card. Based on that we allowed him to come. This was only done because the District administration tells us to conduct these programs. We didn't conduct any demonstrations however."
Arumugam allegedly produced identification cards to show his involvement with NDMA.
"We approved the session because we saw his government ID. We didn't expect he would turn out this way. When we saw the government documents he produced, we didn't think it was suspicious," he confirms.
A letter accessed by TNM shows that Arumugam wrote to colleges under the guise of being a trainer certified by the National Disaster Management Authority.
Using a letterhead which bears the name of the NDMA, Arumugam wrote, "Our Central Government is conducting an awareness program on "Disaster Management Awareness" in colleges all over India. On regards of this, we request your college management to grant permission to conduct this program in your institution. The College management need not pay any fees for this program. If any student requires certificate that can be obtained for Rs 50/-. These certificates can be used for registering to employment."
However, soon after news broke of the incident, the national agency whose primary purpose is to coordinate response to natural or man-made disasters, denied their involvement in the drill, stating, “The trainer wasn't authorized by NDMA to conduct such a drill.”
The Arasan Ganesan college of Perceptors in Sivakasi too confirmed that Arumugam had visited for a session in 2015. "He was in touch with the Youth Red Cross which organised the programme."
Police confirmed to TNM that Arumugam was not acting alone. "He definitely had accomplices but they were not present for the training session at the Kalaimamagal college. We will identify them as the investigation proceeds," says the senior official.
TNM found the profile of another man who had conducted training classes with Arumugham and is under investigation for being a part of the elaborate scam.