Residents of the busy Vadapalani and upmarket Ashok Nagar in Chennai city, finally, can heave a sigh of relief with police making a breakthrough in cracking a gang of 'psycho' killers, who have been linked to five mysterious deaths in the area.
However, dismissing any psycho angle to the killings, police on Thursday claimed to have made the breakthrough after they arrested two persons, who allegedly admitted that they along with their gang members, had killed the people for money to buy drugs and liquor. The other gang members were yet to be nabbed.
Earlier, police had claimed that they had solved the case with the arrest of a person identified as Ekambaram who was stated to be mentally unstable. But two deaths were reported even after his arrest.
Chennai Police Commissioner R Sekar told media persons that the arrested duo Subramani and Nagarajan were part of a bigger group of about eight or nine persons, who 'would be nabbed soon'.
Dismissing perceptions that the murders, including that of two security guards, a rag-picker and a beggar, were committed by a 'psycho' killer, Sekar said there was no psycho angle as feared by people.
A spate of murders had rocked the city, especially the busy Vadapalani and upmarket Ashok Nagar since mid-July, leading to speculation that a 'psycho' killer was on the prowl
The victims were found dead under mysterious circumstances with their head smashed with a stone or burnt to death.
The arrested had confessed that they attacked their victims, mostly persons in inebriated condition or those sleeping on the pavement, at random for the little money or belongings they had, Sekar said.
"The duo mainly did so to steal money to buy liquor and drugs. They were nabbed by a special team when they were threatening a person at Saidapet here to part with his golden ornaments, at knife point," he said.
The arrested had on a few occasions managed to hoodwink police patrol teams in the late hours of the day with stories like carrying a death message of a relative to escape from the police dragnet.
"The police personnel enquiring them would let them off due to sympathy," he said.
The duo's direct involvement in the deaths of the security guards at Ashok Nagar and Vadapalani and an unidentified man at Ashok Nagar has already been established, Sekar claimed.
"They had set them on fire after attacking them with stones and suspended their activities for some time due to wide media coverage of the serial deaths in the vicinity," he said.
"We are confident of solving all the cases of murder in the locality soon since we have leads in most of them. However, they cannot be disclosed now," he said.On the 'mysterious deaths' of four persons in nearby Koyambedu locality and in some other parts of the city, the Commissioner said they were all natural deaths, adding post mortem reports stood proof to that.