VELLORE: Notorious gangsters ‘Athiradi’ Maha (alias) Mahalingam (35) and Vasur Raja (alias) Raja (aged about 30), disappeared from the police radar after jumping bail a couple of months ago. The Vellore court have issued non-bailable arrest warrants (NWB), but police remain in the dark on their whereabouts.
Sources in the police department said that Maha involved in six murder cases, including the murder of
Public Relations Officer of CMC Hospital, John Segar (who was murdered on March 16, 2009 at Kazhinjur). The principal district and sessions Court, Vellore, sentenced Maha and his associate Appu (alias) Rajendran (27) to life-imprisonment. The duo appealed against the verdict at the HC.
Four cases were pending against him, while he was acquitted for a murder case in the Sathuvachari Police Station limit.
He obtained condition bail from the Vellore Court in two murder cases, including the murder case of his rival gang member Suriya,two months ago.
“After the conditional bail was relaxed by the Judicial Magistrate Court-I in Salem during the first week of June, he vanished from the police radar. Within a week, he along with his associates abducted A Prabhu (24), a native of Azhaganavodai village in Tiruvannamalai, for a ransom of Rs 50 lakh on June 14. Prabhu’s family is involved in red sander smuggling. Thus, Maha targeted them to extort money,” said the police source.
Kannamangalam police, however, acted swiftly and rescued the youth on June 15. The police arrested four of Maha’s associates, including the panchayat president of K V Kuppam panchayat in Vellore.
“Maha managed to escape from the police and is still at large. He masterminded realtor Krishnan’s murder from behind the bars in 2010 and has continued his activities at his will,” added the source.
The gangster is said to have cut his trademark long hair and has had a tonsure at the Tirupathi temple.
“He filed anticipatory bail at the HC in the abduction for ransom case,” added the police official.
Maha’s rival Vasur Raja, who is also off the grid of police surveillance, along with his aides attempted to murder Maha and his gang members on the premises of the Vellore District Combined Courts Complex in Sathuvachari on April 10, 2010. Wielding sickles, Raja and his gang stormed into the court complex to kill Maha and his gang.
”After the shocking incident, the government had passed an order to extend security in all district courts. But Raja and his gang member were acquitted from the case over lack of evidence,” said the senior police officer.
Within three days of his acquittal from the case, in the third week of April, he was out on bail in the abduction-cum-murder case of pawn shop owner Muthukumar, who was hacked to death on February 19, 2014. Vasur Raja was last spotted four weeks ago near Ponniyamman Koil in Perumugai on the outskirts of Vellore.
“Gang wars and related crimes can be controlled, if the district police act quickly and firmly. Information that the gangsters are extorting businessmen in Vellore has reached, but the local police is not acting upon the information,” added the police source.