VELLORE: The chairman of a private engineering college in Tamil Nadu's northern district of Vellore was on Sunday brutally hacked to death by an armed gang in another case of thriving gang wars that continue in the state's smaller towns. GG Ravi's case is suspected to have been a fight for businesses, backed by local politicians that ended in his gory murder in full public view.
GG Ravi, a financier-turned-politician affiliated to the ruling AIADMK party, had started his career, along with his brother Ramesh by lending money in the small, but thickly populated Thottapalayam locality in Vellore. While he had a set of criminal cases pending against him, his growth was phenomenal and he managed to build the GGR College of Engineering.
GG Ravi had on Sunday, around 8.30 pm, emerged from Rangalaya Kalyana Mandapam in Gandhi Nagar, Katpadi, about eight kilometers from Vellore when a gang of armed men surrounded him and repeatedly hacked him with sickles. He was there to attend an engagement of a family friend.
Police said the enmity began at least five years ago when Ravi's brother Ramesh was fighting a battle for the domination of auto stands at Thottapalayam, a thickly populated area in the city. In 2012 Kuppan, an associate of a local ruffian, Maha alias 'Athiradi' Mahalingam, tried to operate autos and was threatened by Ramesh not to venture into the business.
Mahalingam, who came in support of Kuppan was threatened by Ramesh and managed to escape a murder attempt. Exactly, a year later, Ramesh was murdered in April, 2013 in front of a finance company in Arcot allegedly by Mahalingam's gang. Mahalingam and Kuppan were arrested but later released on bail.
A series of revenge attacks had since followed from both gangs. GG Ravi's family members allegedly tried to kill Mahalingam twice but he managed to escape.
However, in September 2015 Ravi’s sons R Gokul and R Tamil Mani killed Mahalingam near Thottapalayam. He was chased by them and stoned to death in public view near the Dharamaraja temple. Mahalingam, who was out on bail, had allegedly tried to kill GG Ravi by stabbing him at a function on Arcot Road, but Ravi escaped the attack with injuries and was rushed to a hospital by supporters.
Police suspect that GG Ravi’s murder on Sunday was orchestrated by Kuppan as revenge for Mahalingam's death. "To take revenge for the murder of Mahalingam, Kuppan for whom Maha entered the gang war with GGR family is suspected to have murdered GG Ravi," said a senior police officer. The situation remained tense on Monday and Vellore was under heavy police deployment, while all the shops in Gandhi Nagar in Katpadi remain closed.
Speaking to The New Indian Express, Superintendent of Police (SP) P Pakalavan said that special teams have been formed to nab the accused. “As of now, the murder seems to be a result of the previous enmity,” he added.SP Pakalavan visited the murder spot and launched an inquiry and the Viruthampattu police have registered a case.
The rise & fall of GGR
1. In the early 2000’s GG Ravi and his brother Ramesh, natives of Thottapalayam in Vellore began their life as money lenders. Thottapalayam was a thickly populated area covering Arcot road, Old by pass road and Christian Medical Hospital (CMC) Hospital.
2. Ravi later ventured into several businesses including real estate and transport. He was arrested in several cases including smuggling of Sandalwood trees in Jawadhu hills in late 2000. A few cases of land grabbing and Katta panchayat (unofficial courts) were also registered against him.
3. He became a trusted aide of Congress MLA C Gnanasekaran and was briefly with the Congress before parting ways and showing allegiance to Dravidian parties. In 2009, he was elected as an independent councilor and joined AIADMK.
4. Following charges of land grabbing and criminal suits, he was expelled from the AIADMK in 2011. However, he was said to be closely associated with the incumbent Vellore MP B Senguttuvan and former MLA and Minister of Health V. S. Vijay.
5. He suffered a personnel loss when a rival gang led by Mahalingam killed his brother GG Ramesh in 2012.
6. Six months ago, GG Ravi was arrested by police for allegedly assaulting the then Inspector of Sathuvachari, Pandiyan, who entered GGR engineering college while chasing a sand-laden lorry. He was later released on bail.
6. On Sunday, GGR succumbed after a group of men attacked him with sickles killing him on the spot.
Mahalingam’s gang known for notoriety
1. In late 2009 Vellore police killed a notorious ruffian Kora Krishnan in an alleged encounter. He was wanted in Vellore for several decades for smuggling, extortion and Katta Panchayat, and was supported by three aides - Maha Alias ‘Athiradi’ Mahalingam (42), Kuppan (40) and Vasur Raja (35).
2. Mahalingam was a native of Keezh vadugan kuttai in Vellore and his father was a retired VAO; he studied upto class 8. He reportedly smuggled liquor via autos for Kora Krishnan.
3. Mahalingam was involved in several anti social activities, his notoriety came to the fore in 2009 after he murdered then Public Relations Officer of Christian Medical College (CMC), John Sekar for refusing to lease the Ambulance service to one of his close aides. He allegedly murdered him for a ransom of Rs 50,000, and was convicted and awarded a life sentence.
4. In 2012, Kuppan joined the gang and waged a war against the GGR family.