CHENNAI: Twice stopped from flying out of the country by the law enforcement agencies, S Dhanalakshmi, daughter of Sridhar Dhanapalan, one of the most wanted men by the State police and often referred as a top real estate “don”, finally managed to fly out on Tuesday night.
The 22-year old, who is pursuing her final-year undergraduation course in the UK, stayed here for 29 days, during which time the Kancheepuram police and the Enforcement Directorate tried their best to extract information about her father and his ill-gotten wealth estimated to be “over `500 crore”. But Dhanalakshmi, who, sources said, was closely tracked by the police throughout her stay, and against whom there were two lookout notices, managed to get them quashed and flew out of the country to the UK on Tuesday night.
Sridhar Dhanapalan, who was widely believed to be in Dubai along with wife and son, was perhaps the toughest customer for the police. With dozens of criminal cases and huge tracts of land acquired by him allegedly through illegal means, he has been absconding since 2013. Multiple efforts made through various means to trace him proved unsuccessful.
The Kanchi police perhaps thought it had got a solid lead when they learned Dhanalakshmi had landed in the city on Feb 24. Two days later, when she was traveling to Bengaluru by car, the vehicle was intercepted by a police team on the Chennai-Bangalore highway.
“She was taken to the Kanchi SP’s office where the police questioned her for about two-and-a-half hours about the whereabouts of her parents. She told the police that she had come to India to enrol in a law university in Bengaluru. Later, they directed her to come back on the following day around 11.30 am,” said a source close to the probe.
But on the same night, Dhanalakshmi tried to board a flight to Colombo using a hurriedly booked air ticket. However, she was detained as the Kanchi police had issued a lookout notice against her. The police had also registered a case against her under IPC sections 202 (intentional omission to give information of offence by person) and 212 (harbouring an offender).
She then filed a writ petition in the Madras High Court accusing the police of illegally issuing the lookout notice against her to force her father to surrender. On March 14, a single-bench of the Madras High Court quashed the lookout notice issued by the Kancheepuram District Superintendent and directed the police not to stop her from flying out of the country.
Judge R Subbiah observed that there was no case pending against the young woman, when the police intercepted her on February 26. “It is seen from the records that the petitioner has been detained only on the ground that her father is involved in many criminal cases and his whereabouts are not known. However, in order to secure the presence of the father of the petitioner, detaining the petitioner from proceeding abroad to pursue her higher studies is not justified,” the court ruled in its order dated March 14.
But when Dhanalakshmi landed at the Chennai airport to take a Dubai-bound flight, she was again stopped by the immigration authorities citing that a fresh lookout notice by the Enforcement directorate (ED). The notice questioned the huge wealth and real estate in her name. It asked her to reveal her source of income. It is learnt that she had told the ED officials that all properties in her name were gifted by her parents and she has no income on her own. The ED then cleared the lookout notice, but issued summons directing her parents to appear before them to give explanation for their source of income.
Having legally won the two lookout notices against her, Dhanalakshmi finally flew out of the country in a flight on 9.40 pm on Tuesday and was headed to the UK through connecting flights.
`45 crore real estate deal behind sudden visit?
The sudden visit of S Dhanalakshmi, when trouble from police was very much anticipated owing to her father’s background, has raised certain questions about the purpose of her visit. Dhanalakshmi, in her affidavit in the court, maintained that she came in to get application forms from a law college in Bengaluru. But sources privy to the case suggested that her visit was to clinch a real estate deal worth around `45 crore. Sources said Dhanalakshmi sold a prime Kanchi property to a popular retail textile chain. It is also said that she visited a property at T Nagar to make a purchase, but was unsuccessful. It is widely believed that Sridhar Dhanapalan is living in Dubai along with his wife and son. While Dhanalakshmi has been staying in the UK, his another daughter, a minor and Class XII student, is staying alone in Kancheepuram and attending a school there.