History-sheeter Nagaraj, sons held after month-long hunt

History-sheeter Nagaraj, sons held after month-long hunt
History-sheeter V Nagaraj and his two sons who had been eluding the police for nearly a month, were arrested by a special team of the city police from a village near Arcot in Vellore district in Tamil Nadu on Thursday.

Nagaraj and his two sons — Gandhi and Shastri — were on the run since April 14, when Rs 14.82 crore in demonetised notes was seized from their house after raids on his house and office in Srirampuram.

How they were arrested

Nagaraj (56) and his sons were arrested near the Angala Parameshwari temple at Harini village near Arcot in Vellore after a brief chase on Thursday afternoon. Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Ravi Kumar, who led the team that was on the hunt for Nagaraj, called up Nagaraj’s advocate and sought his client’s surrender. The advocate contacted Nagaraj, who said he was not willing to surrender.

The police tracked the mobile tower location to a village near Arcot and rushed to the spot. They saw a man fitting Nagaraj’s description standing near a van and talking over his phone. As soon as he saw the police, he got into the van which started moving. The police then had to chase the van for around one-and-a-half kilometres before they intercepted it. One of Nagaraj’s sons was driving the van, the police said.

When the police rounded them up, Nagaraj created a ruckus and screamed saying he was being kidnapped since the police were in plainclothes. There was confusion and a few passersby intimated the Tamil Nadu police who rushed to the spot. A senior police official from Bengaluru had to call up the Vellore district superintendent of police to intimate their counterparts that it was a police operation. Later, the three were taken for medical examination, the police added.

However, Tamil Nadu police sources from the headquarters in Chennai said that they were arrested with help from the Tamil Nadu police. 

Nagaraj and his sons, in order to evade the police, did not stay in hotels or friends’ houses. They were always on the move most of the time in a Maruti van which the two sons took turns to drive, the police said. They stayed at schools, temple premises and farmhouses where their identities were not sought, police sources said.

Nagaraj made it tough for the police by not using his mobile phone constantly. He kept changing the SIM cards and handsets that were supplied to him by one of his relatives. Sometimes, he used to call from remote locations to mislead the police. Nagaraj also managed to send two CDs to the media through his advocate where he accused Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and a few senior police officers of ‘fixing’ him by foisting false cases against him. He also said the money belonged to a man named Manjunath who claimed to be Siddaramaiah’s PA and at his behest, the police had planted the cash in his house.

The police had earlier arrested five of his associates to collect clues about his whereabouts and movements. Nagaraj and his sons were brought to Bengaluru on Thursday night and are being interrogated an the abduction and extortion case. Meanwhile, Nagaraj’s two wives are said to have gone absconding after his arrest.
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