CHENNAI: What helped the police nab the contract killers, Rakesh and Tikku, who murdered Sowcarpet businessman Babu Singh earlier this month was testimony of an auto driver who ferried them on the day of the murder. It may have been easier for the cops to make the arrest - which was eventually made with the assistance of the Pune Police — if the auto driver hadn’t tonsured his head and gone underground after he learnt that passengers of that fateful day were, in fact, cold-blooded murderers.
The otherwise industrial area of Sowcarpet was shaken to its core on May 3, when Babu, who owns a prominent travel agency there, was shot dead in broad daylight, in front of his office in Erulappan Street. Police used CCTV footage from shops nearby and quickly managed to run down the number of the auto, traced the driver and interrogated him. This was the clincher. He told the police that his friend in Nagpur had told him to help two men - supposedly coming to town to handle a land deal - with transport and accommodation. An innocent enough request, that he complied with unwaveringly.
On the day of the murder, the duo called the auto driver and told him to pick them up near the Kannagi Statue on Beach Road, before asking to be dropped at Erulappan Street.
“When they reached the spot, Rakesh walked down the street, while Tikku went to a shop on the street corner. Within minutes, the men came running to him and told him to take them to Chennai Central Station first. When they were on the way there, they changed minds and instead asked to be dropped at CMBT,” police officials quoted the auto driver as saying.
The day after, he learnt of the murder, and tonsured his head, laying low for a while, before police eventually caught up with him. Once he had given his testimony, police sources say they sent out seven special teams and finally arrested the duo in Pune. They have been taken to Mumbai, from where they will be brought to Chennai. Sources say the killers had been paid `1 lakh to execute the plan by a man named Hakeem, who is still at large, but were not aware of the motive.
Rakesh walked down, while Tikku went to a shop on the street corner. Within minutes, the men came running to him and told him to take them to Central.