THOOTHUKUDI: A history-sheeter, allegedly involved in at least seven murder cases across Tamil Nadu, was shot dead during an ‘encounter’ at Kovalam Beach near Thoothukudi on Friday. A special team was recently formed to nab V Durai Murugan (40) of Kootampuli near Sawyerpuram as he was suspected of murdering Jegadeesan (23), a flower vendor from Pavoorchatiram in Tenkasi. Jegadeesan’s body was exhumed at Tuckerammalpuram in Tirunelveli on Monday.
“The special police team led by Sub Inspector Raj Prabu rounded up Murugan at a graveyard near Kovalam Beach on Friday afternoon. However, Murugan attempted to attack them and the police had to retaliate. He was shot dead; Raj Prabu and another policeman was injured in the incident,” a senior police officer said.
A senior officer privy to the case probe said Durai Murugan has over 35 cases pending against him, including four murder cases in Thoothukudi district, and one murder case each in Madurai, Tiruvannamalai and Tirunelveli. He was released from prison after four years on this September 3.
“Murugan is a habitual robber, and he attacks people during the robbery. “He kills people and buries them in deserted places. The same modus operandi was followed for killing Jegadeesan of Tenkasi, Manimozhi (44) of Madurai, T Selvam (42) of Thoothukudi, Stalin of Thoothukudi and Rajini alias Rajinikanth of Thattaparai,” another police officer said.
‘Act of self-defence’
Thoothukudi Superintendent of police S Jeyakumar has maintained that police had to fire at Murugan only as an act of self-defence. Addressing mediapersons, the SP dismissed charges of ‘encounter’ and said Sub Inspector Raj Prabu, on sighting Murugan and his two aides, warned them to surrender and fired in the air as a warning.
“He asked them to surrender, but Murugan attacked the SI and constable David Raj with a machete. In self defence, the SI fired three rounds from his 0.9 mm pistol and Murugan collapsed on the ground,” the SP claimed. This is the second encounter killing within a week in Tamil Nadu, as a thief from Jharkhand was hunted down at Kancheepuram last Monday.