VELLORE:A shadow gang war involving the owner of an engineering college and a notorious rowdy spilled on to the streets in Vellore on Saturday evening leading to the murder of the latter, leaving onlookers horrified and marring Krishna Jayanthi festivities.
The victim, ‘Athiradi’ Maha alias Mahalingam, who had jumped bail in a murder case, was publicly stoned to death by a gang that included two sons of G G Ravi, chairman of the GGR College of Engineering, after he made a futile bid on Ravi’s life.
The murder near Dharmaraja temple in Thottapalayam was captured on camera by an onlooker. Pictures of Ravi’s sons Gokul (24) and Tamil Mani (20) menacingly holding stones while Maha lay motionless with a bloodied face on the road went viral on phone messaging platforms leading to their arrest. Four others — Karthik Kumar (18), Ranjith Kumar (20) and a juvenile, all sons of Ravi’s brother Selvaraj, and Ravi’s brother-in-law Silamarasan (28) were also arrested.
According to police, two years ago, one of Ravi’s brothers Ramesh was killed by a gang. Ravi, a former councillor who faces five criminal cases and was expelled from the AIADMK in June 2011, suspected Maha’s role in it. Ever since, a shadow war was on between them.
Police suspect that Ravi had encouraged another gangster ‘Vasur’ Raja, who too has jumped bail, to eliminate Maha. In 2013, Maha escaped a bid on his life by Raja and his henchmen in the Vellore district court premises.
Maha, sentenced to life term by a trial court in connection with the murder of a public relations officer of the Christian Medical College here, had obtained bail from the Madras High Court and gone underground four months ago.
On Saturday, when Ravi had gone to attend the Krishna Jayanthi festivity near the Dharmaraja temple, Maha and his associates Kuppan alias Sathish (28) and an unidentified man, allegedly injured him with sharp weapons.
Immediately, Ravi’s sons, relatives and henchmen chased them and cornered Maha. To the horror of numerous onlookers, Ravi’s sons picked up huge stones and hurled it on Maha’s face killing him.
Maha was arraigned in five murder cases in Vellore and one in Tiruvannamalai. A few months ago, he had abducted a red sander smuggler for ransom.
Police have registered cases against Ravi’s arrested sons and relatives and Maha’s absconding associates.
Significantly, on April 27 and July 9, Express had published two reports on the likelihood of a gang war involving Maha and Raja after they had come out on bail and subsequently gone underground.