In a dramatic custody battle, the Tamil Nadu police on Saturday snatched notorious criminal Murugan, wanted for the Tiruchi Lalitha Jewellery burglary case, from the custody of Karnataka police a day after he surrendered in a court in Bengaluru.
The Perambulur police intercepted a Karnataka registered car in which the Karnataka police and Murugan were travelling and took the burglar into custody.
But the Karnataka refused to hand over jewels recovered from the Cauvery river bed in Tiruvarambur in police Tiruchi on the basis of information provided by Murugan.
They said they would hand over the jewels to the judicial magistrate in Bengaluru before whom Murugan had surrendered and Tamil Nadu could claim from the court.
The Tiruchi police brought owner of TIruchi Jewellery owner Kiran Kumar who identified nine kg of gold recovered by the Karnataka police as part of the Rs 13 crore of jewels stolen from the showroom on the night of Oct 3 last.
The Tiruchi police have already recovered four kg from Manikandan, an associate of Murugan’s nephew Suresh(28) who had surrendered in Sengam court on Thursday .
Manikandan was caught during a vehicle check, but Suresh escaped. He later surrendered in the court in Tiruvannamalai, saying that his mother P Kanagavalli and his friend Manikandan had nothing to do with the crime.
However, the police recovered 450 grammes of gold from her, apparently part of the loot Suresh had entrusted to her.
Mastermind behind the burglary Murugan (45), surrendered before the 11th Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate in Bengaluru civil court Friday.
The Tiruchi special task force had sought the court’s approval to take Murugan into their custody. However, the Bengaluru police, without informing the Tamil Nadu police brought him to Tiruchi to get the looted jewels. They were intercepted at Perambalur while they were on their way to Salem en route to Bengaluru on Saturday.
Murugan, a resident of Thiruvarur, has many cases pending against him in Bengaluru, Chennai and other parts of south India.
On October 3, Lalitha Jewellery, a three-storeyed building near Chathiram bus Stand in Tiruchi, , was burgled in the early hours after masked men gained entry into the store by drilling a hole in its wall.
Based on CCTV footages, Tiruchi police said the prime accused Murugan and Suresh reached the wall leading to the west end of the store through a school building, which was shut on account of quarterly exam holidays, and drilled a hole to gain entry into the showroom on the ground floor.