THIRUVANANTHAPURAM : A five-member gang with Naxal links, suspected to be involved in the May 11 murder of TRS leader K Ramulu in Andhra Pradesh, was nabbed by the city police on Tuesday.
Somaiyyah, 35, Suresh Maji, 45, Panka Ravi, 32, Ramesh, 38, Ellesh, 38, and Kumaraswami, 28, all hailing from Warangal in Andhra Pradesh, were held from a lodge following a tip-off, police said. A .32 pistol and `1,20,000 in cash were seized from the gang.
“Somaiyyah, one of the arrested, had surrendered in 2008. The others are suspected to be active Naxalites,” he said.
Police Commissioner Venkatesh said investigators were probing the possible local connections of the gang.
Ramulu was shot dead at Ram Nagar Colony in Nalgonda. Ramulu, along with his bodyguards, was walking to a marriage hall when seven assailants waylaid him, sprayed chilly powder on the bodyguards and shot him dead. The assailants fled within minutes. Police had launched a massive search and issued a countrywide alert.
A former Maoist, Ramulu was the brother of slain CPIM(L) general secretary K Sambasivudu. Sambasivudu was killed near the Gokaram village in Nalgonda on March 26, 2011.
The gang reached the city on the Mumbai CST-Trivandrum Express from Renigunta and checked in to a lodge at Thampanoor around 11.30 pm on Monday. Two others joined them on Tuesday morning, police said.
Police are verifying the original identity of the gang members with the help of their Andhra Pradesh counterparts.
According to sources, police suspect that one of the arrested is Nayeemuddin who is wanted in several sensational killings in Andhra Pradesh. Nayeemuddin, a former People’s War Group member, is alleged to have masterminded the killings of Ramulu and Sambasivudu.
A native of Bhongir in Nalgonda, Nayeemuddin has cases of murder, extortion and kidnapping against him. Nayeemuddin gunned down an IPS officer in 1993.
He later surrendered to police and turned an informer and is reported to have amassed a huge wealth from real estate business.
Commissioner Venkatesh, who hails from Andhra Pradesh, led the preliminary interrogation of the gang at the Thampanoor police station
The arrested were later taken to the Armed Reserve camp for further questioning by the intelligence department.