The Kerala Police on Friday arrested Dharmarajan, an absconding convict in the Suryanelli rape case, at Sagar town near Shimoga district in Karnataka.
Kottayam district police chief Rajagopal said Dharmarajan was arrested at a temple and being brought to the district police headquarters. He would be produced before a special court in Kottayam on Saturday.
He was earlier awarded life term on various charges, including abduction of the victim and sexually harassing her.
Rajagopal, however, clarified that Dharmarajan did not surrender but was arrested by a five-member special team.
“The team headed by Circle Inspector Rajkumar traced him following a tip-off from the cyber cell of the state police, which tracked his mobile calls,’’ said Rajagopal. The state police have been on Dharmarajan’s trail ever since he spoke to a Malayalam TV channel in Mysore last week. During the interview, Dharmarajan claimed to have escorted Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman P J Kurien to the Kumaly guesthouse in Idukki. Kurien had spent nearly half an hour with the victim, he added.
Dharmarajan, a lawyer, is the third accused in the 17-year-old case. The court had granted him bail, but he jumped the bail. He was arrested after a prolonged manhunt from Karnataka in 2001.
The following year, a special court sentenced him to life.
In 2005, the high court reduced the sentence to five years’ rigorous imprisonment. Dharmarajan was granted bail the same year in October, but he absconded again.
Shimoga Superintendent of Police Kaushalendra Kumar said: “I have no information pertaining to the arrest of Dharmarajan. The Kerala Police had informed the Sagar police that they had been to the town to investigate a particular case. Apart from this, I have no information in this regard.”