Chennai: ‘Rocket' Raja, wanted in murder and other serious cases down south, was arrested in a police swoop on a star hotel in Teynampet Monday. Four of his accomplices were also nabbed along with him and an unlicensed gun with ammunition was seized, police said. Sources said following information, T'Nagar deputy commissioner S.Aravindan led a well-armed special team that stormed the star hotel room and secured the five men. Some cops had sneaked into the room vicinity dressed as hotel staff. The wanted men gave up without resistance.
However, Raja kept insisting he should have access to lawyers for assistance but was whisked away with his four associates in waiting police vehicles. Preliminary investigation, according to police sources, revealed that the gang was planning to eliminate one Karthik belonging to the Ramanathapuram royal family. Two of the arrested men had gone underground after coming out on bail in a case of abduction/extortion involving Karthik, sources said.
The five men were taken with heavy police escort to the Virugambakkam police station for questioning. Within no time, a large crowd of angry supporters of Raja, belonging to his ‘Nadar Makkal Sakthi’ caste outfit, agitated outside the station demanding his release and raising slogans alleging that their leader was being falsely accused of serious crimes. The arrested were produced in the Saidapet court in the evening and remanded to 14 days custody in the Puzhal jail.
‘Rocket’ Raja had released a video on WhatsApp/Youtube in June last year alleging that the police in Tirunelveli were planning an ‘encounter’ to eliminate him. Though he had not committed any crime, the police had foisted cases and were hunting him. He was willing to come out and face the charges legally but had chosen to lie low because an emissary from police, who came with a ‘surrender’ offer, warned him he would be killed in cold blood. Only the Nellai police should be held responsible if his life came under attack, Raja had said in that video, which went viral.