Absconding and wanted in the May 22 night hit-and-run case in Chennai,Shaji Purushothaman,son of M P Purushothaman,chairman of Empee Group,was on Thursday morning apprehended by the immigration officials at the Kochi international airport. He was brought back to Chennai by the Tamil Nadu police. A Chennai court remanded him in judicial custody till June 27.
Shaji had allegedly run over five pavement dwellers under the influence of alcohol. The speeding car,a Mercedes Benz,had first hit a police patrol vehicle. Then it swerved and ran over the pavement opposite Government Women and Children Hospital at Egmore,Chennai. A 13-year-old boy,T Muniraj,died at the hospital next day. His cousin K Subha (10) suffered grievous injuries on her right hand. Three others,including Munirajs brother,T Vasu (8),were also injured.
There were four persons in the car which was registered in the companys name: Shaji,his two friends and an employee of the company,R M Kumar. A case was initially registered against Kumar. But soon the top officers of the Chennai police intervened,suspended the traffic inspector and formed a new probe team. Based on more evidence,the police altered the FIR to charge that a drunk Shaji was the one behind the wheel.
However,the police found that Shaji,soon after the accident,had left Bangalore and from there to Thailand via Sri Lanka. After nabbing two of his friends,the police issued a look-out notice against Shaji. Anticipatory bail pleas moved on Shajis behalf were rejected by the Madras and Kerala High Courts.
Back in Chennai,his father M P Purushothaman met the investigating officials and assured that his son would be back by June 10. But Shaji did not turn up on the day. In the meantime,the police moved the court to declare him a proclaimed offender,leaving him with little option but to surrender.
On Wednesday night,the Chennai police rushed a team to Kochi when they came to know that Shaji was arriving at Kochi airport from Bangkok. When he arrived by an early morning flight,the immigration officials detained him.