Chennai: Incidents of crime can change the face of a locality overnight. Some history-sheeters, murder cases and gruesome crimes continue to send a chill down the spine when you think about them now.
‘News Today’ lists some of the cases – the oldest to the latest – which have shocked the city.
The court hearing of C Alavandar saw the gathering of a huge crowd. After all, the case unfolded with twists and turns, almost unbelievable.
C Alavandar, a pen salesman from Chennai, went missing on 28 August 1952. The following day, a headless body was discovered in a third class compartment of the Chennai-Dhanushkodi (Indo-Ceylon boatmail) train.
After a few days, police discovered a severed head in Royapuram beach. An autopsy confirmed that both belonged to the same person and Alavandar’s wife identified them.
Alavandar was married with two children, he also worked as a saree salesman and was romantically involved with many women. One of them was Devaki Menon from Kerala.
Even as she broke off her relationship with Alavandar and married Prabhakar Menon, Alavandar continued to harass her. To stop him, Devaki called Alavandar to her house on Cemetery Road and murdered him with the help of her husband.
Nobody can forget the tall, scrawny man with thick mops of curly hair smiling for a photograph from behind bars.
Gowri Shankar alias ‘Auto’ Shankar, a native of Vellore district started out as a painter and later took to driving autorickshaws, transporting illicit arrack from coastal hamlets areas between Thiruvanmiyur and Mamallapuram to the city.
As per reports, Gowrishankar was an abandoned child who managed to educate himself up to the pre-university level in a town near Vellore. He arrived in Madras in 1974, with intentions of leading the life of a good, honest citizen.
However, with his nefarious activtives, he became a fearful figure, an uncrowned king of unlawful activities.
He ran prostitution dens from a line of huts in Periyar Nagar as well as from a lodge on L B Road with the connivance of the police. He committed six murders in two years for which he was eventually convicted.
Gowrishankar was hanged at Salem prison along with his associates Eldin and Shivaji in 1995.
KNIFE DEFEATS PEN
Movies often depict cinema journalists pitched against actors and directors. There is a popular case in real life too. One that turned bloody.
C N Lakshmikanthan was a famous film journalist in Madras Presidency. In 1943, he launched a film weekly called ‘Cinema Thoothu,’ which was extremely successful.
He wrote extensive columns devoted to the personal lives of some of the top actors and actresses. However, he locked horns with actors M K Thyagaraja Bhagavathar and N S Krishnan and film director Sreeramulu Naidu.
On 8 November 1944, Lakshmikanthan was attacked by a group of assailants at Vepery and one of them stabbed him. Although he was bleeding, he managed to walk to his friend’s house, who listened to his description of the incident.
His friend sent him to General Hospital. On the way, Lakshmikanthan stopped at Vepery police Station to file a complaint against the assailants. He passed away at the General Hospital.
The actors and director served prison terms, and that was the end of their career.
If at all there was a name which was feared by the public and police in Chennai, it was Ayodhyakuppam Veeramani.
He was a fisherman-turned-gangster who controlled the sea belt and spirit trades. It is said Veeramani would send a hit squad to kill anybody for money. He appeared in public in fancy cars, with plenty of jewellery.
An accused in 35 cases, including five murders and 11 attempt to murder cases, he was once sentenced to death, which was later reduced to seven years imprisonment.
He was called the ‘dada’ of Chennai coastline and managed to escape from the police for a couple of years, restricting his activities to Cuddalore.
There were cases of abduction, narcotics trade, assault and extortion against him. He was detained under the Goondas Act five times.
He was shot at by two sub-inspectors of police, in an ‘encounter’ in broad daylight at the Marina beach in 2003.
When news of his death spread, tension was palpable in the city. Many shops downed shutters and police was prepared for a law and order situation arising out of it.
In 2017, the city came face to face with a monster: S Dashvanth, a 22-year-old techie was arrested for brutally raping and murdering a seven-year-old girl in Mugalivakkam February 2017.
The girl, who was his neighbour, was lured into his apartment and assaulted and gagged. Her body was burnt beyond recognition and dumped.
When he came out on bail in December, he murdered his mother and stole valuables from his house.
He confessed in court that he planned to kill his father also. In February 2018, the court awarded him death sentence.