Remember the sensational shooting down of teenager K Dilshan at the army cantonment quarters on July 3, 2011? The incident caused an uproar and made national headlines, as the suspect was thought to be a military man. For the State CB-CID, the case proved tricky as there was neither any eye-witness to the incident nor any trace of the murder weapon.
While the needle of suspicion firmly pointed towards a retired officer, Lt Col K Ramaraj, CB-CID sleuths could not make any move towards his arrest because his personal imported rifle, which was the only piece of crucial material evidence, was missing. On July 9, when it came to light that he had flung the weapon into the nearby Cooum from atop the Napier Bridge, an urgent call went to the Tamil Nadu Fire and Rescue Services Department.
A four-member team headed by A Ravanan, Station Fire Officer, Esplanade Station, mounted a painstaking search and after hours of casting nets in the fast-flowing water, Ravanan’s team finally found the rifle buried in the sand at 7.20 pm. The discovery nailed the accused army man and Ravanan’s testimony in court proved to be crucial during the trial. For his efforts, he received a commendation certificate from State DGP K Ramanujam.
The 56-year-old station fire officer, a native of Kumbakonam, has again been honoured, this time with the prestigious Chief Minister’s Fire Service Medal-2013 for rescuing a mother-son duo from a building collapse site at Triplicane in October 2012. “It was an extremely challenging task because the two were trapped under a mound of debris – sand, bricks, steel rods and household goods,” the officer said. “We could see only the boy’s hand.”
A science graduate, Ravanan joined TNFRS in 1982 through the employment exchange. Having risen through the ranks he now heads a 67-member team at Esplanade fire station.