The sprawling Kodanadu estate situated in Tamil Nadu’s Nilgiris district had always remained as an enigma. Jaya’s favourite spot was purchased from British citizens Peter Graig Jones and his family under threat and force. The 193 acre sprawling estate was bought in 1995 for a pittance under threat and coercion. To read further about how the estate was purchased red the interview of the owner Jones here. Subsequently, adjacent estates were purchased through the same method and some forest lands were also annexed. After all she is Jaya.
Whether she as in power or not, Jayalalitha used to spend most of her time in this estate and the officials would be flown from Chennai to Coimbatore & meet her with files for her approval. Jaya even opened an ATM for the use of Kothagiri tribals.
After Jaya’s demise in December 2016, Sasikala got convicted in February 2017 by SC and almost there was no one to take care of the estate in which Sasikala still holds shares. The estate also stands attached to government due to her conviction in assets case. The estate also stands attached due to her conviction in assets case.
On the intervening night of 23 & 24 April 2017, Krishna Thapa one of the security guards of the estate was assaulted and when he resisted, he was tied up. His colleague Om Bahadur who also resisted was killed. As per initial reports the burglars who were eleven in number came and left in three vehicles, an Innova, a Ford Endeavour and a Santro.
Official version which then CM Edappadi told the assembly was, “that seven special police teams were formed to crack the case and all those involved in the murder and security breach at the estate have been arrested. The tracking of mobile phone calls in the vicinity helped the police to narrow down on the culprits, the police have conducted the investigation properly and arrested all the culprits. Only a few pieces of imitation watches and a crystal Rhino statue alone was stolen”.
This was even the version of the police too. An FIR in Cr. No. 158 of 2017 of Sholurmattam PS was registered on 24.04.2017. The only person who can vouch as to what went missing inside the multi roomed bungalow was only VK.Sasikala, who was then cooling her heels in Parappana Agrahara prison. But the police took no action to verify actually what went missing with Sasikala but finalised that, the accused which included a former driver of Jayalalitha, came to Kodanadu in 3 high end four wheelers, killed a guard, beat up another to burgle a few cheap watches and a crystal statue !! Conveniently the police put up a person named Mahalingam an alleged Manager of Kodanadu estate of whom no one heard of.
As investigation proceeded, things took an interesting turn. Kanagaraj, driver of Jayalalitha died mysteriously on 28.04.2017 while he was driving a motor cycle in Salem-Chennai highways. The police claimed it was an accident and Kanagaraj was in an inebriated state. The next day, – 29.04.2017 Sayan and his family met with an accident at Palakkad, Kerala. His wife and kid died in the accident and Sayan suffered grievous injuries. After treatment he was arrested along with other accused.
In a couple of months, one Dinesh, CCTV operator for the Kodanadu estate, committed suicide.
The accused Sayan was released on bail 11 September 2017 as the police failed to file the charge sheet within the stipulated 90 days. However, the police quickly filed a charge sheet in another few days on 19 September 2017 against Sayan and 10 others u/s. 324, 342, 449, 396, 120B, 147, 148, 149, 447, 458, 395, 397, 302 IPC. Since accused No.1 Kanagaraj died in a motor cycle accident on 28.04.2017 charges against him was abated.
The Sholurmuttam PS’s charge sheet in this case will better the script of mega blockbuster Baahubali.
A1 Kanagaraj is a native of Edappadi Village, Salem. A.2 Sayan is from Madukkarai, Coimbatore. A.1 and A.2 were friends from 2013. Kanagaraj was a former driver of Jaya. So he knows the lay out of Kodanadu bungalow.
When Jaya & Sasi kept senior IAS officers in their Vedha Illam verandah for hours, do you believe they will allow an ordinary driver to access the place where they keep their secret booty ? Just for looting some money, Jaya’s former foster son VN Sudakaran was slapped with a Heroin case. Let’s come back to the script of police.
Kanagaraj believed there was 200 crores in the bungalow and he shared the information a few days before the incident to Sayan. Sayan suggested that they consult with A.10 PC Manoj @ Samy who has got spiritual powers. If he is consulted he will say, whether there will be trouble or not.
They met Manoj Samy. After hearing the details Manoj Samy said, he knows another spiritual samy who has more divine powers than him. So all the three proceeded to another samy with divine power who is called as Santhosh Samy. The “more power samy” told them that he senses some obstacles and he need to perform certain rituals. All the four went to Manoj Samy’s ashram and performed some rituals. (If this is made as a film, CG can work magic in this scene). The later script of Shulurmuttam PS is dreadfully boring than Mani Ratnam’s Navarasa. L
Probably, impressed with the script of Shulurmuttam PS, the Sessions Judge took cognizance. Following the filing of charge sheet everyone public memory faded and almost everyone forgot about this case.
The police failed to probe even the basic questions that would come to a common man’s mind. How come, a bungalow which was like a fortress just a few months back was left unguarded with two Nepalese watchmen ?
Jayalalitha installed powerful CCTVs even when she was not CM in and around her Kodanadu bungalow. For arguments sake, if we assume that following her demise security was withdrawn and CCTVs were removed, who issued the orders is a moot question.
All ADMK leaders even now, pretend that ‘Amma’ is their god. Is not the priority of EPS’s Amma government to get to the bottom of this heist and find out who ordered the removal of CCTVs ? Given the power and clout enjoyed by Jayalalitha it is highly unlikely that an ordinary driver – Kanagaraj – would have master minded this heist. But this was the conclusion that police arrived at. The dead don’t speak na ?
Even the accidental death of Kanagaraj has not been probed properly say sources. One interesting angle to the connection of Kanagaraj with the incident is he too is a native of Edappadi, Salem.
When we attempted to contact Murali Rambha IPS, the then Nilgiris SP, now on central deputation, he did not reply to the WhatsApp messages.
The case shot to limelight following the publication of an interview with the main accused Sayan and the second accused Valayar Manoj on 11 January 2019. The documentary of Mathew Samuel :
In the documentary it could be seen that both Sayan and Manoj had stated that Jaya’s driver Kanagaraj had told them that some ‘higher up’ has issued instructions to commit this dacoity and the ‘higher up’ is none other than the then CM Edappadi Palanisamy.
All hell broke loose.
Immediately a complaint was filed in Chennai Central Crime Branch against this documentary. Do you know who is the complainant ?. It was Raj Sathyan, ADMK’s IT wing state office bearer. His father is Rajan Chellappa a former ADMK MP and a senior leader.
The Chennai police swiftly registered an FIR in Cr. No. 21 of 2019 u/s 153A, 501(1)(b), 505(1)(c), 505(2) r/w 120(B) IPC on 11 January 2019 that the accused intended to cause riots and disharmony in the society. Both the accused Sayan and Manoj were arrested from Delhi and brought to Chennai.
Interestingly, the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate after perusing the remand report of the police refused to send the accused to remand that saying that the materials produced by the police did not constitute an offence even according to the FIR.
However Edappadi Palanisamy was not the one to be perturbed. He set the police loose to ensure that Sayan and Manoj never come out of prison.
In the meanwhile, the DMK smelt a huge political jackpot and hit the nail hard on the head. Stalin, surrounded by his lieutenants met Governor and presented a petition based on the documentary of Samuel. The petition sought the governor to (i) Place all the facts before the Hon’ble President of India to take necessary Constitutional measures, (ii) Immediately, direct the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu Mr. Edappadi K.Palaniswami, to demit the office, to pave way for a fair and impartial
investigation into the matter, (iii) To constitute a Special Investigation Team comprising officers at the rank of Inspector General Police and to conduct further investigation in SC No. 3 of 2018 on the file the District and Sessions Judge, Nilgiris and (iv) To direct further investigation in to the mysterious death of Mr.Kanagaraj.
The petition rattled Edappadi Palanisamy. He immediately directed JK.Tripathy to ensure that both Sayan and Manoj both never set foot out of prison.
Tripathy acted swiftly. In a couple of days, the police filed petition to cancel the bail of the accused. Simultaneously, Edappadi Palanisamy managed to obtain a gag order against MK.Stalin that he should not speak about him connecting Kodanadu murder case. To Stalin’s credit, he continued to raise the issue in public forums.
In the meanwhile, Sayan and Manoj delayed the cancellation of bail proceedings by raising objections to the cancellation of bail. Edappadi was getting restless. Tripathy got into act.
An ante-dated complaint was obtained from one Shantha who is running “Raja Lodge” dating it as 15.01.2019. After 15 days the B.1 Coimbatore Town PS registered an FIR against Manoj and Sayan on 01.02.2019, that about one and a half years ago, the murder accused Manoj & Sayan duo stayed in her lodge. After their photos were flashed in TV, several people starred hardly into their lodge in midnights. Hence she has filed the complaint.
What is the offence by Manoj & Sayan duo in this complaint to invoke charges of Criminal Trespass, Criminal Intimidation and Women Harassment Act ?
The police improvised. On 05.02.2019, they recorded further statement of Shantha. In this statement she says, on the same day morning some one called her anonymously and said, “Hey Sayan Manoj come here” in Malayalam. After that there was no sound. This is enough for the new FIR. But for cancellation of bail the documentary film was not enough so the police again improvised.
They obtained a statement from one of the witnesses Pradheep, working in the same lodge was threatened by two unidentified persons that they should not depose in the Kodanadu murder case before the court. Now this fills the cancellation of bail requirement. Their bail was cancelled and they were arrested in the fresh case also.
By this time, Sayan got thoroughly frustrated. He was at of the end of his wits. He miraculously escaped an accident and had lost his wife and a beautiful kid. He is being harassed and made to run from courts to courts just to stay out of jail. He filed a petitition before the concerned court that he wants to implicate himself and turn as a state witness by giving a confession under Sec 164 Cr. P.C
Such a witness is a dream of any prosecuting agency. A good state witness can ensure a conviction and get maximum sentence without much hard work. But, strangely, the Public Prosecutor wrote “taken notice, received copy, strongly objected to file this petition at the time of framing of Charges Pray time for counter”. The counter was never filed and no effort was made to record the voluntary confession of Sayan, Accused No.1 before a Magistrate.
Since Edappadi by this time understood that DMK has taken up this issue which has the potential to damage him, he directed Tripathy to detain the two under the GOONDAS detention act and accordingly they were detained under GOONDAS on 21.03.2019. Though the GOONDAS detention order was cancelled subsequently, Edappadi Palanisamy ensured that the duo don’t get bail which was cancelled.
Only after the intervention of the Supreme Court in a very firm manner, Sayan got out of jail last month.
TN CM MK Stalin who had already seen the jittery of EPS in this issue, promptly ordered the police to take up further investigation. Sayan was interrogated personally by the Nilgiris SP. As expected by MK Stalin, Palanisamy revealed his vulnerability. On 18th of August, the ADMK not only boycotted the proceedings citing reopening of the Kodanadu heist case, but also walked out of the Assembly and announced two day boycott. He made his alliance partners also to walk out. Interestingly, the PMK, whose chief Ramadoss had demanded a CBI investigation into the Kodanadu heist / murder was conspicuously silent and allowed his party MLAs to walk out. The BJP, whose state unit runs on the doles of EPS too walked out.
On 19th August, Edappadi along with all his MLAs, met the Governor and made a strange and comical demand. He wanted the Governor to call for the records in Kodanadu case and investigate them. ????? At one point of time, a couple of years back, Banwarilal himself was under probe in a sexual scandal. But it was given a silent burial. After meeting the Governor, a nervous Palanisamy spoke to the media. He said, “While the trial is nearing end in Kodanadu heist, DMK is reopening the case as part of their vendetta politics. The investigation in the case is closed. This is not part of the election manifesto as told by Stalin. The accused involved in this case are mercenaries facing several cases in Kerala. The DMK is supporting these rowdy elements. DMK Advocate NR.Elangovan has appeared for the accused. We suspect that the DMK is trying to protect the accused. The secret confession is being recorded again from one of the Sayan. Without prior permission of the court, the case has been reinvestigated.”
MK Stalin has hit the bulls eye.
ADMK, has always been a party of slaves. Jayalalitha knew very well about these people’s calibre and dumbness. Edappadi Palanisamy who was a Chief Minister, looking after the Home portfolio didn’t even know the basic law. The police need not take prior permission of the Trial court to conduct further investigation. Even before the Criminal Procedure Code was amended in 1973, in a judgment which has its cause title coincidentally “Re : Palanisami Goundan Vs Unknown on 18, 1946”, it was held by Justice Kuppusamy Ayyar as follows :
“The only point for consideration in this case is whether a police officer, who had filed what is styled as a ” final charge sheet” in which he has not laid a charge against one of several persons against whom information was received by him at the earliest stage of investigation, could file a further charge sheet against that person without disclosing that he had received any further information. No authority has been cited for the contention that such supplementary charge sheet cannot be laid. All that the section says is that the final charge sheet shall be filed after the investigation is closed, but there is nothing said in the Code as to when the investigation is to be considered to have ended. If a police officer after he lays a charge, gets information, he can still investigate and lay further charge sheets; and so there is no finality either to the investigation or to the laying of charge sheets in the sense in which it is sought to be understood in this case. I therefore ‘ do not think I will be justified in quashing proceedings. The petition is accordingly dismissed.”
Following the amendment of the Cr. PC in 1973, the Supreme Court, through a Bench headed by Justice Chinnappa Reddy, read down the powers of the police on further investigation under 173 (8) Cr. P.C.
“As observed by us earlier, there was no provision in the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898 which, expressly or by necessary implication, barred the right of the police to further investigate after cognizance of the case had been taken by the Magistrate. Neither Section 173 nor Section 190 lead us to hold that the power of the police to further investigate was exhausted by the Magistrate taking cognizance of the offence. Practice, convenience and preponderance of authority, permitted repeated investigations on discovery of fresh facts. In our view, notwithstanding that a Magistrate had taken cognizance of the offence upon a police report submitted under Section 173 of the 1898 Code, the right of the police to further investigate was not exhausted and the police could exercise such right as often as necessary when fresh information came to light. Where the police decided to make a further investigation, the police could express their regard and respect for the Court by seeking its formal permission to make further investigation” (emphasis supplied).”
Fine. What next ?
Stalin has found Edappadi Palanisamy’s Achilles Heel. He will go for the kill. EPS has revealed all his cards too quickly. How long he may command the support of his followers is a mysterious question if you look at the DNA of ADMK slaves. Sasikala who is furious over EPS’s attempt of this heist (she strongly believes it is EPS, according to her close sources). OPS may do a somersault. When EPS’s is at his weakest (it may not be too far) she will go for the kill. Many may switch over to DMK to save their skin.
Not only ADMK. Tamil Nadu’s political scenario may witness topsy turvy changes.
Keep watching this column for updates.
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