THIRUVARUR: A Muthupettai Panchayat union ward member was murdered and his head severed in Muthupettai on Monday allegedly by a gang in retaliation for a 2015 murder in which the member was an accused, police said.
The deceased, R Rajesh (38) of Manalmedu in Kovilur village near Muthupettai, was elected as an independent from ward number 11 of Muthupettai panchayat union in 2020. He later joined the AIADMK. On Monday, he was travelling by bike from Kovilur to Alangadu through East Coast Road (ECR). As he crossed the road near the Muthupettai town panchayat compost yard, a gang, which had been lying in wait in a car and on a few two-wheelers reportedly sprung into action. They rammed his bike with the car, causing him to fall off. Sensing trouble, Rajesh started running but the men caught up and hacked him with machetes, police said.
The gang allegedly severed his head and took it with them on a two-wheeler wrapped in a lungi but dropped at a road bump in Azad nagar in Muthupettai. Seeing this, members of the public raised an alarm but the gang got away.
The police retrieved Rajesh’s body and recovered a revolver from the site of the murder. A few buses were stoned by Rajesh’s supporters and as tension prevailed, police security beefed up in the area with H M Jayaram, Inspector General of Police, Central Zone visiting the area and inspecting the security arrangements.
According to police, Rajesh’s death might be linked to a murder from 2015. In 2014, Rajesh is said to have torn a banner of a particular community association. Following this, members of the association allegedly attacked Rajesh and his supporters. While Rajesh escaped unhurt, his relative Veerapandian was murdered. The following year, police said, Rajesh’s gang murdered one Madan of Kovilur village in retaliation. Rajesh was arrested in the case but came out on bail and contested in the local body elections in 2019. Police suspect Rajesh might have been murdered by the Madan's associates. The communities involved in the murder spree are from two different other backward communities (OBCs), police sources said.