Thiruvananthapuram: The Rural police have initiated a crackdown on armed gangs profiting from extortion, illegal money lending and muscle-for-money operations in the Kazhakkuttom area.
The crackdown comes in the wake of the gangland murder of a 25-year-old man in Kazhakkuttom on January 16. The police have already arrested four youth in connection with the murder of "Changidi" Vinod. The police said the main accused, "Karate" Suresh, a local gang leader, was still at large.
According to the police, Vinod's murder was the high point of a raging gangland feud between the groups owing allegiance to "Karate" Suresh and "Aprani" Krishnakumar respectively. Both gangs have attacked each other in the past with swords and country-bombs.
A senior official said the police were now focussing on the activities of gangs headed by "Karate" Suresh, "Aprani" Krishnakumar, "Peeli" Shibu, "Blackie" Shibu, "Ilapakuzhy" Biju and "Kalpana" Suresh. The gangs earn a sizeable income by hiring out musclemen for settling property and money disputes, the police said. Illegal money lending related disputes have resulted in kidnappings, forcible occupation of homes, extortion and appropriation of private property in the densely populated coastal area of Kadhinamkulam.
Gangs engaged by private finance companies for recovering mortgaged vehicles
Gang leaders `remote control' violence using youths without criminal records
Police collecting intelligence on violent criminals
Thiruvananthapuram: The police are yet to arrest the main accused in two gangland murders in the district this year.
High on the wanted list of the Rural Police is `Karate' Suresh, who has been named accused in the murder of `Changidi' Vinod at Kazhakkuttom on January 16.
The police suspect rivalry between two gangs in Kazhakkuttom to have culminated in the murder of Vinod.
An official said that Suresh figured as accused in at least 11 cases in Attingal police subdivision. He said efforts were on to track the accused and arrest him.
According to the police, a criminal gang on the suspicion that he was an informant of a rival gang leader killed Vinod.
The city police said they were moving for the arrest of Vineesh (22) of Althara in connection with the murder of a 35-year-old man near a bar hotel at Sasthamangalam. The murder is suspected to be the high point of a running feud between two gangs engaged by private financing companies for recovering mortgaged vehicles from car loan defaulters.
The police said the main accused in the `Mota' Ani murder case, Ambili, had surrendered before the court recently.
The Crime Branch is reported to have taken him into custody for questioning. The three gangland murders happening in a short span of time have prompted the district police to initiate a crackdown on gangs benefiting from illegal money lending, extortion and muscle-for-money operations. The gangland stand-offs have often resulted in open fights in public places.
High point of feud
The police said that the killing of Ani could be the high point of a feud between criminal gangs profiting from money lending and settling of civil disputes in the city.
An official said that gang leaders now "remote controlled" most of the gangland violence by using youth who were yet to figure in police crime records.
He said the police were collecting intelligence on "violent" criminals and updating its crime database to factor in the "new faces".
Gangland murder: three youth held
Thiruvananthapuram: The Rural police on Tuesday arrested three persons in connection with the murder of `Changidi' Vinod at Kazhakkuttom on January 16.
Superintendent of Police, Rural, A. Gopinath identified the accused as Shyamlal alias `Vava,' 21, Harikumar alias `Kittappan,' 20, and Rajeev, 18. He said the youth owed allegiance to the criminal gang led by `Karate' Suresh. Mr. Gopinath said Vinod, an autorickshaw driver, owed his allegiance to Suresh's rival gang headed by `Aprani' Krishnakumar. He said `Karate' Suresh was accused in more than 18 cases, including dacoity.
In early January, an attempt had been made on Suresh's life by two unidentified persons who hurled country-bombs at him at Medanada. The police said that Vinod was killed in retaliation to the attack. The police named `Karate' Suresh, Arun, Hari and five others as accused in the case.
A team led by B. Sasidharan, Dy.SP, Attingal; Muhammad Iqbal, Circle Inspector, Kazhakkuttom; and K.M. Prasad, Sub-Inspector, Kazhakkuttom, arrested the accused. The police had mounted secret surveillance at Thampanoor, Pettah and Murukumpuzha railway stations on January 31 following an information that some of the accused, who escaped to Bangalore following Vinod's murder, would arrive in the city. The police said the accused were arrested when they alighted at the Thampanoor station. They were produced before the Judicial First Class Magistrate, Attingal, and remanded to 14 days in judicial custody.
PAUL MURDER PLAN BASED IN KAZHAKUTTOM.
The weapon used to fatally stab Muthoot group scion Paul M George was recovered from the house of the main accused on Wednesday, while a police team under a Deputy Superintendent of Police has been set up to track down two absconding gangsters who had accompanied the victim.
Police said they seized a 26-cm long 'S-shaped' dagger from the house of Kari Satheesh, arrested on Tuesday, in Paippad in Alappuzha. He is being interrogated.
The special team had been assigned to trace Om Prakash and Rajesh, the two gangsters who were accompanying 32-year-old George when he was murdered by a criminal gang in a deserted place near Alappuzha in the wee hours of August 22.
George was the Executive Director of Muthoot M George Group, a leading business group in Kerala [ Images ] with interest in several areas, including financing and hospitality industry.
The case assumed political undertones with the Opposition Congress and BJP alleging that some higher-ups in government and the police were trying to 'sabotage' it to protect Om Prakash and Rajesh.
Though preliminary assumption of the police had been that the gang murdered George on 'sudden provocation' after his vehicle hit a motorcyclist, they are also under pressure to probe links of Om Prakash and Rajesh with George.
So far, 12 people, all members of a criminal racket known in local parlance as 'quotation team', had been arrested in connection with the murder.
Police version, based on the leads so far obtained, was that George, Om Prakash, Rajesh and two others had come to Alappuzha from Kochi in two cars.
At a place called Pallathuruthy, Goerge's vehicle hit and injured a motorcyclist. A criminal gang, which was on its way to carry out an 'operation", took offence as Goerge ignored the motorcyclist hit by his vehicle.
Some of them chased Goerge's car for about 2.5 km, waylaid and Satheesh stabbed him fatally after a scuffle.
Om Prakash and Rajesh fled the scene in the car, which was found abandoned at Chavara in Kollam District the next day. Meanwhile, mother of Satheesh, Vilasini, claimed her son had actually surrendered to the police and not tracked down and nabbed as claimed by the investigators.
She said her son had conveyed to the police his willingness to surrender through some of his friends.