Tamil Nadu: OPS son rakes up Kodanad estate case

The Kodanad murder-and-robbery occurred on April 23, 2017, when a security guard at the estate in was killed in a robbery bid

ByUmar Sharieef

Published Jul 06, 2022 | 4:57 PMUpdatedJul 23, 2022 | 4:19 PM

Tamil Nadu former chief ministers O Panneerselvam and EK Palaniswami (Official Facebook Page, O Panneerselvam)

The Kodanad estate heist-cum-murder case comes to the fore once again in Tamil Nadu with the tweets of Jaya Pradeep — second son of former chief minister O Panneerselvam — on Monday, 4 July.

Pradeep’s tweets come a week ahead of the AIADMK general council meeting scheduled on 11 July, just when Panneerselvam’s influence and popularity in the AIADMK seem to be dwindling.

Pradeep, known for his spiritual inclination, for the first time used Twitter to raise a political issue.

He urged the Tamil Nadu government to “capture the real culprits involved in the crime and produce them before justice”.

“Mysterious and shocking incidents have occurred in the Kodanad estate, and on behalf of the party cadres, I request the government to nab the real culprits,” he tweeted.

His post gained political attention with the leadership tussle between two former chief ministers, O Panneerselvam (OPS) and Edappadi K Palaniswami (EPS), in the backdrop.

Demand for arrest

Marudhu Alaguraj, former editor-in-chief of Namathu Amma, the official mouthpiece of AIADMK, told South First that Palaniswami didn’t show any interest in arresting the culprits of the Kodanad crime case despite being in power for four years.

He said, “He (Palaniswami) controlled the state’s police and could have ordered a proper inquiry, but he didn’t. He gave one accused, called Sanjeev, a posting within the party, trying to hide the truth.”

Marudhu also stressed that the demands were made not out of personal vengeance but because Palaniswami maintained silence on the issue, raising doubts.

“I’m not questioning Palaniswami alone. I’m questioning the silence of all AIADMK leaders on the Kodanad issue. Whoever has committed the crime and whichever leader is trying to hide the truth must also be punished,” Marudhu told South First.

“The law should spare no one. The Stalin government also said it would capture the accused and punish them in a few days after coming to power but failed. I, however, urge the government to speed up the investigation,” he added.

Some supporters of the Panneerselvam expressed similar opinions to South First and demanded strict punishment for the culprits.

A former Member of Parliament and some senior leaders of the AIADMK told South First that Panneerselvam’s faction’s demand to arrest the culprits was only to tarnish Palaniswami’s image ahead of the party’s general council meeting.

Kodanad estate case

The Kodanad estate heist-cum-murder case shocked Tamil Nadu not only because it was connected to former chief minister J Jayalalithaa but also for the mysterious manner in which the prime accused in the case died.

On 23 April 2017, a 10-member gang murdered the security guard at the summer bungalow of Jayalalithaa’s estate in an alleged robbery bid.

The main suspects, Jayalalithaa’s driver Kanagaraj and a Keralite VK Sayan, died in separate road accidents within a week of the heist.

The latest development in the case took place on 29 June when a special team led by Coimbatore West Zone Inspector General Sudhakar investigated C Kannan, another driver for Jayalalithaa.

Police sources told South First that more than 100 people are under investigation in connection with the case.

Sasikala’s demand

Meanwhile, Jayalalithaa’s close aide VK Sasikala also demanded strict punishment for the accused.

IG Sudhakar interrogated Sasikala on 21 and 22 April this year.

“The guard’s murder and the robbery happened when I was in prison. The suspects’ deaths also occurred while I was imprisoned,” Sasikala said in a statement after the interrogation.

She also demanded a thorough investigation and prompt punishment for the accused.

She also demanded justice for the deceased guard’s wife and child.