Om Prakash, Rajesh surrender in TN

via PNS | Thiruvananthapuram published on September 8, 2009

In a dramatic move on Tuesday morning, the Thiruvananthapruam-based infamous goondas Om Prakash and Puthenpalam Rajesh, known for their connections with the CPI(M), surrendered before a court in Thirunalveli, Tamil Nadu on Tuesday morning. The goondas decided to surrender as the State police was left with no alternative but to nab him in some way or other after the public outcry about their alleged role in the murder of industrialist Paul George Muthoot intensified.

Both the underworld elements, who had gone into hiding immediately after Paul’s murder on August 21 night, appeared before Judicial Magistrate – IV, Thirunalveli at about 10.30 am Tuesday, in the company of a lawyer and produced a warrant issued by a court in Vanchiyoor in a 200 case. Magistrate J Jayavel immediately remanded them in judicial custody for 14 days and ordered the Tamil Nadu police to inform their Kerala counterparts.

Om Prakash and Rajesh were sent to the sub-jail at Palayamkottai. T Kannappan, Deputy Inspector General of Police, Thirunalveli told the Kerala media over the phone that he had informed Additional DGP of Kerala Police Chandrasekhar about the surrender. He also said that the Tamil Nadu Police were not interrogating the underworld dons as they had nothing to do with any case registered against the duo.

The Vanchiyoor court issued a production warrant to the police against Om Prakash and Rajesh on the application of a sub-inspector. A team of police officials left for Thirunalveli with the mission of bringing them back to Kerala at the earliest. However, top brass of the Kerala Police, who had been facing allegations in the name of the duo, refused to speak anything about this.

The warrant Om Prakash and Rajesh produced in the Thirunalveli court for surrender was issued by the Vnachiyoor court in the case pertaining to the attempt on the life of one Sivaprasad of Karikkakam, Kadakampally, Thiruvananthapruam. The case was registered in 2004 at the Vanchiyoor police station.

The duo had been hiding in several places in Tamil Nadu, including T Nagar, Chennai and a place in Thirunalveli belonging to an NRI in the US. The surrender had become unavoidable as the public outcry in Kerala against them intensified and the police and Government were left with no explanation for not arresting them as per the anti-Goonda Act.

Also, the arrest of Thiruvananthapuram natives Hari and Kannan, associates of the underworld dons, who had helped them escape into Tamil Nadu, also made the prospects of avoiding police action slim. The police had in the meantime found the Maruti-Suzuki WagonR car used for smuggling the goondas out of Kerala into the neighbouring State. Based on this lead, police officials from Kerala had been searching for the duo in at least three places in Tamil Nadu.

Om Prakash and Rajesh, figuring prominently on the list of goondas to be arrested as per the Anti-Goonda Act, had traveled with Paul Muthoot in a Ford Endeavor MUV till he was murdered on the Alappuzha-Changanassery Road in Alappuzha district on August 21 midnight. After the murder, the duo had escaped in the Ford vehicle itself, which was found abandoned in Chavara, Kollam, on the following morning. Since then, they had been hiding.

Despite the circumstantial evidences and witness statements about the presence of the two dons in Paul’s car and on the crime scene, the police mysteriously focused their investigations on a goonda gang based in Changanassery, giving enough time to them to escape. The Chavara police had even permitted the bags and other articles found in the Ford vehicle to be removed from it, which amounted to destruction and distortion of evidences.

It was alleged that the police had been sparing the duo on strict instructions from the Home Department ruled by CPI(M) Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, with whose son the dons were said to have close connections. There were also allegations that the police had deliberately avoided mentioning their names in the first information report on the murder for the same reason.

Reports from Dubai last week had said that Om Prakash and Rajesh had been sighted in the UAE city and that they were in contact with some diplomats to arrange surrender before Onam, but Madathil Raghu, in whose hotel they were allegedly sighted, had flatly denied these reports. The Kerala Police in the meantime had maintained that the duo could have escaped to North India.

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