A Arun, new Chennai police Commissioner after Armstrong’s death, vows to rein in criminal gangs

The reshuffle of senior IPS officials comes in the backdrop of the brutal killing of Tamil Nadu Bahujan Samaj Party chief K Armstrong by armed assailants last week.

BySouth First Desk

Published Jul 08, 2024 | 3:49 PM Updated Jul 08, 2024 | 7:01 PM

A Arun, new Chennai police Commissioner after Armstrong's death, vows to rein in criminal gangs

The Tamil Nadu government on Monday, 8 July, transferred Dr Sandeep Rai Rathore as Commissioner of Police, Greater Chennai and replaced him with senior IPS officer A Arun. Arun is presently Additional Director General of Police (ADGP), Law and Order.

According to a Home (SC) Department order by Principal Secretary P Amudha, Arun was being posted as “ADGP/Commissioner of Police, Greater Chennai Police vice Dr Sandeep Rai Rathore, IPS by downgrading the post of DGP/CoP..”

Rathore has been now appointed as DGP, Police Training College, Chennai in place of Rajeev Kumar, IPS.

Senior IPS officer S Davidson Devasirvatham, ADGP, Headquarters, Chennai is ADGP, Law and order, is appointed in place of Arun, it said.

The reshuffle of senior IPS officials comes in the backdrop of the brutal killing of Tamil Nadu Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) president K Armstrong by armed assailants last week.

Also Read: Armstrong murder is symptomatic of deteriorating law and order in Tamil Nadu; Time for DMK to review

Arun vows to rein in criminal gangs

Outlining his priorities, the city police chief, in an interaction with reporters said that criminal elements would be ‘taught’ in a way they understand.

Asked if ‘encounters’ could be expected, he said there is no such thing as ‘encounter,’ and added that rowdy elements will be taught ‘in the language they understand.’ Regular and professional policing will bring down all crimes, he emphasised.

Notably, he assured action against corrupt activities within the police department like ‘Katta panchayats’ (Kangaroo courts). Law and order maintenance, prevention of crimes and proper probe into incidence of crimes and curbing rowdyism are priorities, he said.

To a question on the killing of Armstrong, he declined to comment. Asked about the claims of prior intelligence of threat to the life of the BSP leader and inaction, he assured action in the event of lapses. Citing statistics, he said murders have seen a decline in the state including Chennai.

Thanking the government for giving him the responsibility of being the city police chief, he assured professional policing and getting a ‘good name’ for the government and Chief Minister M K Stalin.

Also Read: Madras HC says no to burial of K Armstrong in BSP office, allotes space in Pothur

The gruesome murder, arrests

Armstrong died on Friday, 5 July after he was hacked by a six-member gang disguised as delivery executives on bikes outside his house in Perambur at night. The two-wheeler-borne gang fled the scene after the attack.

Armstrong died while he was being rushed to a hospital in Greams Road, said the police. After doctors declared that he was brought dead, his body was sent to Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital for a postmortem.

Two other men, who were near Armstrong, also sustained injuries and are under treatment.

At least 10 special teams were formed by the Greater Chennai Police to trace and nab the suspects. According to police officials, this could be a revenge murder, linked to the killing of a gangster, Arcot Suresh, last year.

Arcot Suresh was hacked to death by a six-member gang in Chennai, on 18 August, 2023. He was involved in around 30 cases including murder cases.

“The assailants believe Jayapal killed Suresh on orders from Armstrong. Jayapal is currently in prison in a different case. He also faces complaints of taking commissions from investors to retrieve their lost money,” said a senior officer probing the case, according to The Indian Express.

“In Armstrong’s murder, Suresh’s brother, Baalu, who is facing at least three criminal cases, has now been arrested. Baalu allegedly led the gang that killed Armstrong on Friday,” the officer said.

Chennai city police had so far, arrested 8 people – Suresh’s brother Ponnai V Baalu (39), D Ramu (38), K Thiruvengatam (33), S Thirumalai (45), D Selvaraj (48), G Arul (33), K Manivannan (25) and J Santosh (22) — within hours after the incident.

Another criminal, Nagendran, who is currently in prison, is suspected of helping Baalu execute the crime, officials said.

Also Read: BSP chief Mayawati pays tributes to slain leader Armstrong; demands CBI probe

Stalin government criticised over law and order 

The Tamil Nadu government drew sharp criticism from various sectors for the failure of law order in the state. Several political leaders and activists, including BSP chief Mayawati, expressed grief and shock over Armstrong’s death and demanded the arrest of those involved.

On Saturday, Chief Minister MK Stalin took to X, to express his condolences. He also said that the “police officers have been ordered to conduct the case expeditiously and bring the culprits to justice as per the law.”

Armstrong was laid to rest on Monday, 8 July, in neighbouring Tiruvallur district. The Madras High Court had rejected the family’s plea to bury the body at the party office in Chennai.

Armstrong’s wife had filed a plea seeking permission to bury his body in the party office of BSP in Chennai. The burial was held at Pothur in Tiruvallur at the end of a nearly eight-hour well-attended funeral procession from the city.

The 52-year-old Dalit leader, a former councillor of Chennai Corporation, was a lawyer by profession. He is survived by his wife and one-year-old daughter.

(Edited by Shauqueen Mizaj, with PTI inputs)

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