Kodanad case: Court directs police to arrest absconding accused

Udhagamandalam (TN), Feb 18 (PTI) A local court Monday directed police to arrest two key accused, who failed to appear before it for the second time in connection with the 2017 Kodanad heist and murder case. As the case came up before district court Judge P Vadamalai, only seven of the ten accused appeared. The judge posted the case for March 4 as the remaining accused did not appear. The government had moved the court for cancellation of bail to key accused, K V Sayan and V Manoj, contending that they were hampering the investigation by their public statements. It cited a video footage recently released by New Delhi-based journalist Mathew Samuel in which they had alleged involvement of Chief Minister K Palaniswami in the heist. Palaniswami rejected the charges and filed a defamation suit in the Madras High Court which had restrained Samuel and six others, including Sayan and Manoj, from making any statement linking Palaniswami to the Kodanad case. While Sayan and Manoj were absconding after the bail was cancelled, another accused Manoj alias Swamy failed to appear in the court Monday morning. Directing police to apprehend Swamy and produce him on March 4, the judge issued order to arrest Sayan and Manoj, against whom he had already issued arrest warrants. Of the seven, five accused are on bail, and two others are lodged in the Central jail in Coimbatore for various other cases. On April 23, 2017, the security guard of the Kodanad estate, former chief minister J Jayalalithaa's retreat home in Nilgiris district, was murdered in a robbery attempt by a 10-member gang. It emerged during the probe that Jayalalithaa's former driver C Kanagaraj and Sayan had allegedly plotted the crime. A total of 10 people were arrested in the case and a charge sheet was also filed. PTI NVM BN SNESNE