SALEM: A 22-year-old youth who was arrested as a suspect in a serial murder case would be released, Deputy Commissioner (Crime and Traffic) S Senthil said on Tuesday.
On February 3, an aged person from north India was murdered during the wee hours in Suramangalam. A CCTV footage showed a youth perpetrating the crime, police had said. The next day, another aged person was killed at a commercial complex near Old Bus Stand, police said, adding that footage gathered from the locality showed the same person committing the crime. On February 1, another elderly person was found murdered near Tiruvalluvar statue. However, police could not find any CCTV footage.
With the targets being aged persons, police suspected that a serial killer is on the prowl and deployed special teams to nab the accused.
During the investigation, police detained the youth, Andisamy, a resident of Sitheriyur village in Dindugul district and an alleged drug addict, who was roaming suspiciously in the locality.
Andisamy was disowned by his family members reportedly owing to his addiction to drugs.
As the suspect did not cooperate with the police during investigation, police said, they sent his picture and the footage gathered from the locality of the crimes to a forensic lab in Bengaluru.
The report that confirmed Andisamy as the person seen in the CCTV footage paved way to his arrest on February 22.
However, in a major turn of events, Pudukottai police alerted their Salem counterparts to inform that there was another person who has confessed to have committed the crimes.
Rajesh Kumar (27), a resident of Pudukottai and an alleged ganja addict, was arrested in attempt-to-murder case a few days ago. During investigation, he confessed to have murdered three elderly persons in Salem District for cash to buy ganja.
On information, Salem police made the youth re-enact the crime, recorded it and sent it to forensic lab.
The report found 80 per cent matches between Kumar's picture and the person seen in the CCTV footage.
The Salem police arrested Kumar on Monday evening and remanded him in Salem Central Prison.
As the word spread, people from various cricles took to social media and lambasted the police for allegedly framing an innocent person in a hurry to close the case.
Refuting the allegations, DCP Senthil told TNIE that Andisamy was arrested also based on his confession to have committed the crimes.
"Even the forensic report confirmed his involvement. With the arrest of Rajesh Kumar, we have decided to revoke a chargesheet against Andisamy and release him. He would be kept on watch as he is a ganja addict, the officer said.