T R Pachamuthu, chairman of the SRM group of educational institutions, was arrested by the Chennai city police on Friday.
He is an accused in 109 cheating complaints filed by parents who alleged that they paid huge amounts of money to secure medical admissions in colleges and other institutions run by the SRM Deemed University.
The trouble began for Pachamuthu when Tamil film producer Madhan, who started his career as a college admission agent, went missing on May 27. A note supposedly written by him on the letterhead of his production house, Vedhar Movies, surfaced in social media.
The note suggested that Madhan, who was once considered close to Pachamuthu, was facing opposition from some members of the SRM family, who disliked his growing proximity to Pachamuthu. While Madhan's whereabouts remained unknown, despite strong directions to the police from the Madras High Court to trace him, several parents who had paid lakhs of rupees to him for admissions in SRM colleges started knocking on the doors of the police with cheating complaints.
A total of 109 such complaints filed by parents were registered by the Chennai police, accounting for a total of Rs 73 crore.
Besides Madhan, parents named Pachamuthu and a few close associates of his in the complaints. In the original FIR filed by the police, only Madhan and two others had been named as accused and 'SRM Management' was included as the fourth accused, without naming any particular official.
But with parents also approaching the Madras High Court and strong remarks passed by the court last week, the police on Thursday questioned Pachamuthu in connection with the case.
On Friday, police sources confirmed that they arrested Pachamuthu and would be producing him in a magistrate’s court at Saidapet.
The police team was expected to reach the Saidapet court complex in the afternoon. He has been booked under sections 406 (criminal breach of trust), 34 (acts done by several person in furtherance of common intention) and 420 (cheating) of the Indian Penal Code.
So far four persons have been arrested in the case: Vijayapandiyan, an associate of Madhan, Dr Bargavan Pachamuthu, a doctor and state sectary of the medical wing of the Indhiya Jananayaka Katchi (IJK) party (a party founded by Pachamuthu), Shanmugam, Madurai district sectary of the IJK party and Babu, Dindugal district secratery of IJK.
However, the key person in the case, Madhan, is still at large. Police claim to have traced his movement was to a lodge on the banks of the Ganga in Varanasi, where Madhan's note said he is headed to "attain samadhi". In the note supposedly left behind by him, he advised the parents to approach the SRM management. The note said the Management that took the lion's share of the money given by parents.