Custodial interrogation of a notorious jailbird, with a long history of crimes behind him, has revealed shocking details on how the young prisoner planned three murders using his cellphone from behind the bars, raising questions about the security measures in place at the Central prisons in the State.
R Radhakrishnan (29) alias Radha, a native of Kattumannarkovil in Cuddalore district, is no ordinary criminal. Taken into custody and grilled for the last two days, he spilled the beans on his decade-long activities and how he directed the murders from behind the prison bars.
After his father Ramanujam migrated to the City and settled down in Rani Anna Nagar, Arumbakkam, Radha dropped out of school after Class VIII. Coming into contact with criminal gangs operating in the Arumbakkam-Aminjikarai-Choolaimedu areas, his first foray into crime as a juvenile was a murder attack on Perumal, a rival, in 2002, a police officer told Express.
After his release on bail, Radha along with his accomplices abducted a rowdy ‘Poo Mohan’ in an autorickshaw to Kanchipuram and murdered him there in 2003. The next year saw Radhakrishnan being convicted for 10 years for the 2002 attack. In jail, he appears to have got his motive for another murder. His associate Manikandan was shot down by the City police in an encounter in 2005 and another rowdy Ezhumalai was suspected to have acted as the informer, the officer revealed.
After his release in April, 2006, the young criminal, along with his gang members, hacked Ezhumalai to death and went back to prison again. From behind bars, he continued to seek revenge and planned the murder of Ezhumalai’s associate Koteeswaran. “It was by using his cell phone purchased from inside the prison that he passed directions to his associates outside to carry out his murder plans,” the senior police official pointed out.
Koteeswaran was murdered in 2006 and thanks to the loopholes in the criminal justice system, Radha walked free in the first murder case in 2009. After a two-year lull, he turned into a contract killer, charging ` 6 lakh to do away with James, a Puratchi Bharatham activist in Tiruvallur district. The attack took place on PH Road in Koyambedu, but doctors managed to save a seriously-injured James. The history-sheeter was back in prison, but was out again in six months. His next victim was Karunakaran alias Karuna.
Questioned about the motive, he claimed that Karuna was involved in the murder of his associate Chandraekhar’s brother 18 years ago. “We found that a bit too far-fetched,” the policeman, however, said.
Whatever the motive, the murder went off as planned in 2011 and Radha was back in the Central prison. Undeterred by his confinement, he prepared the blueprint for the murder of Ranjan, an MTC employee, and gave directions over the cell phone on how to go about it. Ranjan was hacked to death in a wine shop in Poonamalle in January this year. The next victim was Prabhu Kumar in Maduravoyal, who managed to escape. Radha’s latest victim was Kenneth of Koyambedu Colony, who was murdered while on his way to church on Anna Salai in June.
Koyambedu police sought the court’s permission to interrogate the criminal and got two days custody after cell phone records and confession by his accomplices showed Radha’s involvement in Prabhu Kumar attack.