CHENNAI: A 26-year-old television reporter was hacked to death by a three-member gang on the outskirts of Chennai in the late hours of Sunday. While the deceased’s father claimed that he was murdered for questioning the illegal sale of poramboke land, police said the incident occurred after the reporter had demanded a bribe from a realtor for not reporting the matter.
The deceased, identified as G Moses, a native of Nallur village near Somangalam in Kundrathur, was covering Sriperumbudur and Kundrathur areas for a private television channel, Tamilan TV. His father Gnanaraj Yesudasan is also a reporter with a Tamil daily, Malai Tamizhagam.
“On Sunday at around 11pm, Moses left the house after he got a phone call and did not return for a long time. His father who was under the impression that he had gone to meet his friends, called several of them and realised that Moses was missing,” said D Shanmugapriya, the Superintendent of Police, Kancheepuram district.
Meanwhile, Moses who had gone to meet three men from the nearby village was attacked with machetes. Police said Moses dodged the trio and ran towards his house but the gang caught him and hacked him with weapons in full public view.
“Hearing screams in the vicinity, Gnanaraj and his friends rushed to see Moses lying in a pool of blood. Eyewitnesses told us that the trio had warned the public saying no reporter should interfere in their affairs,” said Shanmugapriya.
Moses was taken to the Government Chromepet Hospital where he was declared dead on arrival. The Somangalam police registered a case and launched a hunt for the suspects.
Within two hours the police nabbed the trio - Vignesh, 19, Venkatesh, 18, and Manoj, 19. On further interrogation, the police found the involvement of Navamani, a realtor from the locality who used the trio to settle his scores with the reporter.
“Navamani was trying to sell the poramboke land near a lakebed in Somangalam illegally and Moses, who came to know about it, had demanded a share of the land value, else he will run a story on illegal land deals by him,” said Shanmugapriya.
Navamani was wary of doing anything since Moses was a reporter. Later, he came in contact with Venkatesh from the nearby village. “Venkatesh’s mother deserted him at a young age and Moses would bully him using a demeaning word whenever he visits the village. Agitated by this, Venkatesh had complained to Navamani who in turn instigated him to murder Moses,” said the police.
According to their confession statements, Venkatesh along with his friends had a drink and went to threaten Moses but after the argument heated up, the trio butchered the scribe.
Speaking to The New Indian Express, Gnanaraj said, “Moses has always stood up against drugs, rowdyism and illegal activities in the district. The anti-social elements have silenced my son completely and now the police are trying to character assassinate him."