Krishnagiri/ Chennai: AIADMK ex-councillor C Jayagopal, who was on the run after his banner on the road median caused the death of 23-year-old techie Subhasri at Chennai on September 12, was finally arrested by the police on Friday.
The delay in the police getting the accused had caused much distress in the girl's family, besides public outrage and criticism from the High Court.
Following a tip about his hideout, the fugitive politician was nabbed at Denkannikottai, 27 km from Hosur, in the afternoon, said Krishnagiri district superintendent of police Bandi Gangadhar. However, the local police said they were clueless from where in Denkannikottai he was arrested by the Chennai special police team that came searching for him following the 'clue'.
It may be recalled that Jayagopal had erected the banners - in violation of the orders of the Madras High Court and its repeated reiterations from the higher judiciary banning such illegal banners — on the Pallavaram-Thoraipakkam radial road to welcome Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam to his son's wedding in the evening of September 12. One of the banners broke loose in the breeze and hit Subhasri riding her scooter. The shocked woman lost balance and fell on the road, only to be run over by a water tanker that was just behind.
Subhasri lay bleeding on the road for over an hour as the traffic police in the St Thomas Mount and the 'law&order' cops at Pallikaranai fought over jurisdiction. Finally, the Mount traffic police shifted the woman to the Kamakshi Hospital barely 200 metres away, about two hours after the mishap, doctors there said she was already dead for about an hour.
There was outrage from the public, in the social media and even the judiciary at the High Court. Taking serious note of the continued violation of the court ban on illegal banners (those not specifically permitted by the Corporation), the Court wanted action to be taken against the concerned officials for dereliction of duty in allowing Jayagopal's banners on the road that fateful day and also slammed the police for the inordinate delay in nabbing accused Jayagopal.
The state Additional Advocate General on Wednesday submitted in the court that though special teams have been formed, they were still not able to get any clue about his whereabouts. Forty eight hours later, police announced his arrest in distant Denkannikottai.
The police top brass also ordered departmental action against the Pallikaranai L&O Inspector for his failure in removing the banners after noticing them on September 12.
A stiffer punishment should have been meted out and that must include the cops at both Pallikaranai and St Thomas Mount, many felt.
The police had also faced criticism by initially filing cases against the AIADMK man under bailable sections but have now altered the FIR by adding Section 304(ii) of IPC - culpable homicide not amounting to murder - which could attract imprisonment up to 10 years. That is, to accuse Jayagopal of placing his banners on the road knowing very well they could cause serious injury to people, though he did not mean to kill anyone in the process....