HIS BIRTHDAY party interrupted by a police raid, a wanted man evaded a hunt across Chennai for more than a week before he surrendered Tuesday.
Binu Pappachan, who is from Kerala and started off as a tea seller in Chennai, is now accused of running a network for extortion, kidnapping and kangaroo courts, mostly for land disputes. After his surrender at the city’s Ambattur police station, a video started circulating on social media, showing him pleading for mercy and claiming he was never a “big rowdy” as police and media have been made out to be.
Before that, what had circulated on social media — and made local headlines — was a photograph of Pappachan using a machete to cut the cake for his 50th birthday on February 6. That night, Chennai police had picked up 75 people including 40 criminals from the suburbs; Pappachan had escaped.
The raids had followed the arrest of a man facing 12 cases. Caught during a random vehicle check, he reportedly told police about the birthday party where he too was heading. Police made him call Pappachan and identified the location — a cargo truck yard. Police commissioner A K Viswanathan sent over 100 personnel, most of them armed, to round up the guests.
The police picked up some 75, while three dozen including Pappachan fled. “Later, at least 10 more people were arrested from houses in the vicinity. We found that 40 of them had criminal backgrounds while the rest had joined the party through friends,” said a senior officer. Most of the alleged criminals, including some college students, were remanded in judicial custody while those without such backgrounds were released.
Police are still searching for Kanagu and Vicky, two alleged criminals who escaped.
In the video, Pappachan appears dejected, claiming to have reformed, asking for mercy and citing his health and age. “I am a diabetic,” he says. “The bad company I kept got me involved in many crimes. I was sent to jail many times. I decided to go underground after I last came out on bail because I wanted to reform.”
He says the birthday party was a surprise arranged by his brother. The video ends with Pappachan seeking pardon from everyone, and saying he decided to surrender as it was impossible for him to hide with police teams searching for him everywhere. “I am not a big rowdy,” he says.