CHENNAI: Video clippings of the suspected killer, including those showing him with his intended victim — a rare phenomenon in a murder case — and four fingerprints lifted from the crime scene. An open-and-shut case, one would have thought. However, seven special police teams, formed to probe the murder of 28-year-old jewellery shop owner B Guna Ram at Nerkundram on April 14, are still in the dark about the suspect’s identity.
On Wednesday, Joint Commissioner (West Zone) K Sankar released more video clippings of the suspect and announced “handsome reward for any fruitful information about his whereabouts.”
The officer admitted that the case had turned out to be far more complex for the police because they were not able get to the motive behind the murder. “The motive is not clear…they are not leading to the accused man,” he told Express.
Prima facie it appeared that it was not a murder for gain and the killer had come with the purpose of eliminating the victim, probably due to previous enmity, he said. Special teams had fanned out to the southern districts and to various jails and the profiles of old offenders were being studied. “Two suspects are there,” he added.
A ‘woman angle’ that was being pursued after probing the victim’s caller logs turned out to be a dead-end and evoked angry protests from the Madras Pawnbrokers Association, which accused the police of trying to divert attention from the “mastermind” behind the crime. A local woman was picked up by the police soon after the murder after inquiry showed that she frequented the pawn shop and had befriended Guna Ram. Reports began to appear that she had “confessed” to the police that the victim had gifted her 1 kg gold and she hired assassins to kill him when he demanded it back.
Madras Pawnbrokers Association general secretary J Dharamchand Seervi told Express that the victim was struggling to run his business after the theft of 935 gm of gold from his shop in October last. “Where would he give 1 kg gold to the woman?” he asked.
Seervi alleged that the police had failed to crack the theft case due to the influence exerted by a north Indian jeweller on Arcot Road in Virugambakkam and that Guna Ram was pressured by a police official to withdraw the complaint. In November, the woman came and settled in the area, he claimed and wondered whether the whole thing was a “set up”.
Quoting a police officer, he said she had several “illegal contacts” and was constantly changing the suspect’s identity. “If she hired him, she should be able to name him. But she is not able to do so.”
On Monday, he said, a group of advocates had arrived at the police station and asked a senior official to release the woman, but the officer had refused. Seervi said only a through inquiry into the previous theft would throw light on the murder.
Even the victim’s family members felt that the murder was connected to the incident, he added.