Kidnap drama reveals gold smuggling racket
On August 26, the Palladam police received a complaint from a Tiruppur family that a gang in three cars had waylaid their vehicle and abducted their driver near Perumpalli.
Published: 30th August 2021 05:13 AM | Last Updated: 30th August 2021 05:13 AM | A+A A-
TIRUPPUR: On August 26, the Palladam police received a complaint from a Tiruppur family that a gang in three cars had waylaid their vehicle and abducted their driver near Perumpalli. When the police launched an investigation, they did not dream they’d stumble upon a tangled plot, replete with smuggling, double-crossing and a loot of 5kg gold, in which one of their own was complicit.
According to police, the abductee was a 33-year-old Sivaganga native named Sakthi aka Maheshwaran. He had moved to Tiruppur a couple of months ago and started working as a driver for hire. The Tiruppur family was one of his clients.
From the family, the police learnt more details about the cars used by the abductors. Soon, a police team spotted one of the cars abandoned in Keeranur near Dindigul. Further investigation led the team to a brick kiln nearby, where they saw Sakthi and two others – 28-year-old Veeramanikandan and 33-year-old Azhagarsamy locked in. They were rescued.
Sensing something amiss, the police questioned the trio. “Sakthi and the others said they used to work for Ramanathapuram-based businessman ‘Goodluck’ Rajendran, who they claimed, was involved in smuggling gold from Sri Lanka,” police said.
According to police, two persons – 34-year-old Mohammed Riwan and 34-year-old Yasir Arafath –reportedly paid a huge sum to Rajendran for a portion of gold smuggled from Sri Lanka last year. Rajendran tasked Sakthi with delivering a consignment of five kilograms of gold biscuits to the duo.
Days later, however, Sakthi allegedly returned to Rajendran claiming he had been caught by police but escaped, leaving the consignment at the police check post. Rajendran refused to believe the story and handed him over to Riwan and Arafath, who allegedly locked him up for questioning. Sakthi, however, escaped a week later and fled to Tiruppur. Only Veeramanikandan and Azhagarsamy knew where he was.
After their search for Sakthi didn’t bear fruit, police said, Riwan and Arafath caught Veeramanikandan and Azhagarsamy and allegedly locked them up. To lure Sakthi into a trap, Riwan and Arafath purportedly sought the help of their police ‘friends’ – Rajeshwaran and Karthikeyan.
According to police, it was these two who hatched the plot to capture Sakthi. They brought Veeramanikandan and Azhagarsamy to Keeranur and forced them to convince Sakthi to come to Palladam. When Sakthi obliged, he was abducted and taken to the brick kiln, Tiruppur police said, adding that they arrested Rajeshwaran, Karthikeyan, Mohammed Riwan and Yasir Arafath on Saturday evening. The whereabouts of the gold, believed to be still with Sakthi, is not known yet, the police added.