VELLORE: A day after sand smugglers attempted to bury a Village Assistant (VA) alive, the police have arrested a 19-year-old boy, Sekar of Mallapalli. They said they were on the heels of the prime accused Tirupathy, of Annasagaram Village in Mallapalli.
Tirupathy, a notorious sand smuggler, is frequently changing his hideout to evade the arrest since Saturday evening, police said.
He along with five of his associates had tried to bury Village Assistant S Rajendran, alive in a five-foot deep pit on the Kottaru riverbed when he had tried to stop them from illegal mining.
“We have formed four special teams to track down Thirupathy and his associates,” Assistant Superintendent of Police of Tirupattur G Dharmarajan told Express. “The police teams have been travelling to different parts of the district based on information to arrest him.” They have arrested one of the six persons who had attempted to bury Rajendran alive in the riverbed, he added.
Around noon, a police team rushed to Arakkonam based on a tip off. However, they were unable to locate the prime accused. “We tracked him till Arakkonam based on his mobile phone signal. He, however, switched off his mobile phone when the team reached Arakkonam,” said the ASP.
He said that the department would zero in on him very soon. “We have also formed a special team to seize the tractor that they have used to smuggle sand form the riverbed,” he said.
The police officer said that the notorious gang, besides wielding strong political clout, had a strong network to keep vigil on the movement of revenue and police officials all these years.
The revenue officials attached to Tirupattur Taluk have registered four sand smuggling cases against Thirupathy since January this year.
Meanwhile, Sub-collector of Tirupattur Shilpa Prabhakar submitted a detailed report to Collector Ajay Yadav in connection with the murder attempt by Thirupathy and his gang. “I met the Collector at Yelagiri and submitted a detailed report to him about the incident and the criminal history of Thirupathy,” said the sub-collector.
Along with the report, the sub-collector has also handed over the demands of the Village Administrative Officers, Revenue Officials and Village Assistants’ Associations.
“Tirupathy had paid penalty on several occasions in the past for sand smuggling in and around Tirupattur. It shows that he has been doing the illegal activities for several years,” she added.