Chennai, Oct. 12: Tamil Nadu’s powerful Nadar community has appealed to President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam to take steps to institute a CBI inquiry into the circumstances leading to the death of one of their leaders, Venkatesh Pannaiyar, who allegedly died in a shootout with police.
The landlord’s death in the southern Tuticorin district in controversial circumstances has not only incensed the entire community, but has also assumed political overtones as Pannaiyar is widely believed to have worked for the victory of the ADMK candidate in the closely-fought Sattankulam Assembly bypoll last February in a Congress bastion.
Chennai city police say that when some crime branch personnel went to Pannaiyar’s flat in the early hours of September 26 to make enquiries about a “financial fraud”, he allegedly opened fire. The police, in self-defence, returned fire, in which he died.
The federation of various Nadar associations, a powerful social network in Tamil Nadu, is disappointed with the police’s handling of the case and is pressing for a CBI probe.
Sources here said a petition was handed over to the President when he was here two days ago at the opening of the Rajiv memorial at Sriperumbudur. A former Congress Union minister, Danushkodi Adithyan, led a group of leaders of various Nadar associations to Kalam.
Adithyan followed it up with another petition to Tamil Nadu governor P.S. Ramamohan Rao today, seeking removal of city police commissioner K. Vijayakumar.
Voicing strong objection to the police terming the deceased a “fraud” on the basis of a complaint by a person heading a finance company, the petition by the Nadars pointed out that Pannaiyar hailed from a wealthy family. He was of an “immensely charitable” disposition and had donated several crores for renovation of various temples, it said.