How Madurai parotta helped catch a convict who jumped parole for four years

His wife in Coimbatore told investigators that she hadn’t seen Sivakumar in many years and claimed that he hadn’t even come for their daughter’s wedding.
Sivakumar was already facing trial in a 2004 murder case in Kerala, when he allegedly killed his roommate Elumalai in Velachery in 2012.
Sivakumar was already facing trial in a 2004 murder case in Kerala, when he allegedly killed his roommate Elumalai in Velachery in 2012.Express Illustration

CHENNAI: Convicted for committing a murder in Kerala and accused in another in Chennai, C Sivakumar (45) from Coimbatore is no ordinary criminal, but a polyglot fluent in Tamil, Hindi, Kannada and Malayalam, and a smooth operator who gave cops in two states the slip for four years.

For someone who found his calling in the restaurant business in many towns and cities across south India, it was ironic that it took a cop skilled in making ‘Madurai style parotta’ nab him on Monday, from a hotel near the Erode bus stand, after a four-month labyrinthine investigation.

An arts graduate hailing from a well-to-do family, Sivakumar was already facing trial in a 2004 murder case in Kerala, when he allegedly killed his roommate Elumalai in Velachery in 2012. Guindy police arrested him in 2013 and sent him to Puzhal prison.

Meanwhile, Kerala police took him into custody and the Ottapalam sessions court convicted him in 2019. However, six months later, during the first wave of Covid pandemic, he was released from the Kannur central prison in view of social distancing issues. A police official said Sivakumar had also managed to earn a good name due to his impeccable conduct inside jail, because of which he was granted parole in June.

However, he soon went missing and didn’t appear before court in the Guindy murder case trial, which led to a non-bailable warrant (NBW) in October 2020. Three years later, a Chennai court declared him a proclaimed offender.

Convict C Sivakumar
Convict C Sivakumar

This is when the Chennai police’s Serious Crime Squad (SCS) led by inspector Meenatchi Sundaram stepped in to nab him, but had to literally go on a wild goose chase. His wife in Coimbatore, a well-to-do woman from a land owning community, told investigators that she hadn’t seen Sivakumar in many years and claimed that he hadn’t even come for their daughter’s wedding.

This was corroborated by the wedding album photographs and statements from the daughter’s in-laws, husband and relatives.

The Chennai cops were exasperated; their Kerala counterparts even suggested a theory that Sivakumar had escaped out of India. This was found to be false after his passport details were examined.

When cops started digging into the multiple bank accounts of his wife, they found unusual activity, with small amounts being deposited frequently from Bengaluru based bank accounts. This led them to Hindi-speaking North Indian restaurant workers in Bengaluru, who recognised Sivakumar as a colleague who spoke Hindi, used their Aadhaar cards to obtain multiple sim cards and also operated their bank accounts.

Tracking this link took them to the Coimbatore-Erode belt, where cops found that he worked as a cashier at a restaurant in Erode. “He used multiple phones and sim cards and changed them frequently which made it tough for us to track him,” said an investigator.

Investigators said that Sivakumar was highly disciplined and a teetotaler, who had impressed the restaurant managers in Palakkad, Erode, Bengaluru, Namakkal and Coimbatore with his managerial skills in the business. North Indian cooks and servers in these eateries were his close friends.

Meanwhile, cops also found that Sivakumar’s wife used a separate mobile to maintain sparse contact with him through social media only. She also visited him on a few occasions for a few hours at a place in Erode.

This is when cops hatched a plan. A few weeks back, they approached the restaurant where Sivakumar worked, and managed to plant a policeman who could make Madurai style parottas. Their decoy was to understand the restaurant business, as they wanted to start one. After a few days, they managed to round him up and sent him to a Kerala prison.

“If we had made one small mistake, he would have given us the slip and disappeared to some corner of India,” a cop from SCS said.

Off the radar

2004: Commits murder for gain in Kerala

2012: Arrested in Velachery for murder for gain by Guindy police

2019: Convicted by Ottappalam court in Kerala for murder

June 2020: Released on parole from Kannur central prison, absconds

October 2020: Non bailable warrant issued by Chennai court

2023: Declared proclaimed offender by Chennai court

June 17, 2024: Arrested by Chennai police in Erode, sent to Kannur prison

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