Biju Radhakrishnan (39), a fugitive businessman wanted in connection with a multi-crore solar panel scam that has landed Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy in a tight spot, was arrested by the Coimbatore police here on Monday.
He was picked up when he ran out of money and attempted to sell his laptop. Soon after his detention, Biju was handed over to a visiting Kerala Crime Branch CID team, who took him by road to Kerala.
Incidentally, Biju and Saritha Nair aka Lakshmi Nair, a conwoman and his partner-in-crime, are facing trial in a cheating case registered in Coimbatore a few years ago.
Saritha, a co-accused in the solar panel scam is already in jail.
The Kerala police had sought logistical assistance to trace Biju as his mobile phone tower signal indicated he was hiding here.
Five special teams from the Kerala CBCID had camped in the city to nab him. Coimbatore City Police Commissioner A K Viswanathan had set up a police team headed by Saibaba Colony Inspector (Law and Order) to assist their counterparts from Kerala.
According to police, while monitoring Biju’s cellphone number, they found he had made a call to a shop on Crosscut Road at around 11 am on Monday.
On inquiring with the shop owner, the city police found that Biju had contacted him to sell his laptop as he was desperately in need of cash. Police then asked the shop owner to call Biju and ask him to bring the laptop.
Not knowing that the police have tracked him, Biju sent one of his relatives to the shop to sell the laptop. When his relative entered the shop, police secured him and on questioning him they learnt that Biju was waiting in a call taxi in Ram Nagar.
When police reached the location, they found him missing from the location. However, sensing that Biju could not have escaped too far, the police personnel decided to check a tea shop and textile shop situated nearby.
A security guard at the textile shop confirmed that a man clad in while dhoti and shirt had handed over his laptop to a man (his relative) at the gate and entered the shop.
The police team immediately stormed into the shop and after a brief search nabbed Biju.
“He was hiding behind a door. We arrested him and handed him over to the Kerala Police,” said Saibaba Colony Inspector of Police (Law and Order) Chandramohan.
Biju’s relative Chandran was also detained. Both were taken to Kerala by the Homicide and Hurt Wing of the Kerala police.
Biju and Saritha had lured peoplem, including some doctors, to invest in solar panel installation schemes and defrauded them.
The two are also involved in a number of financial crimes, including fraud, cheating, forgery and use of forged documents to con clients.
The solar panel scam assumed political significance after it was found that two personal staff members in the Kerala Chief Minister’s office, Tenny Joppan and gunman Salim Raj, had allegedly made frequent calls to Saritha Nair.
Following the revelation, the opposition Left Democratic Front (LDF) had raised chorus demanding the resignation of Kerala Chief Minister Oomen Chandy.
The two staff members were removed from the Chief Minister’s office last week itself.