Jayalalithaa’s Ex-Driver Linked With Kodanadu Crime Found Dead

Kanagaraj was the prime suspect in the murder of the security guard at Kodanadu estate.

In a twist to the murder of the security guard at former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa’s Kodanadu estate, the prime suspect in the case has been found dead in Salem.

Kanagaraj, who was once Jayalalithaa’s driver, reportedly died in a road accident near Attur on Friday night. Reports suggest that Kanagaraj, who was riding his bike was hit by a Karnataka registration car near Attur at 8.30pm on 28 April.

Meanwhile, another suspect Sayan alias Shyam, also met with an accident while travelling with his family from Thrissur Palakkad on Friday night. While Sayan sustained minor injuries, his wife Vinupriya (27) and daughter Neethu (5) died on the spot. Their bodies have been taken to the Palakkad District Government Hospital.

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Puthiya Thalaimurai reports that police are investigating whether the accidents were planned.

The deaths come even as the Tamil Nadu police launched a hunt for him as they suspected him to be the mastermind behind the murder of the security guard and the break in at Jayalalithaa’s Kodanadu estate.

According to reports, Kanagaraj, who is from Chennai, was sacked from the driver’s post by the late Chief Minister when she found out that he was misusing her name. He has reportedly visited the estate in Nilgiris district a number of times.

Of the seven people detained, three people from Thrissur were allegedly associates of Kanagaraj. Reports suggest that the alleged mastermind hatched a conspiracy with Sayan to loot the Kodanadu bungalow after Jayalalithaa's death.

The burglary took place at around 1.30 am on 24 April. The accused murdered 51-year-old Om Bahadur, a security guard, and severely assaulted another 27-year-old guard Krishna Bahadur at the gate of the estate.

They then allegedly broke into rooms that Jayalalithaa and Sasikala used at the bungalow. They are suspected to have made away with some valuables from the estate. Some of the accused were traced to Thrissur via a registration plate on an SUV the gang used. 

Those detained in Thrissur include Satheeshan, 42, Deepu, 32, and Santhosh, 40. Satheeshan is reportedly a labourer and Deepu is a tipper driver, while Santhosh is reportedly a priest at a temple. According to reports, four others were arrested from Malappuram district, but their names were not available. Police plan to bring all seven to Nilgiris district on29 April.

The sprawling 800-acre estate has several gates and six other security guards were on duty during the break in. There were, however, no visits made to the estate, following Sasikala's arrest in February.

Former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa used the estate as a summer retreat – to escape Chennai's scorching heat. During her tenure as Chief Minister, staff were camped there for weeks at a stretch. The property in Nilgiris district first came into the public spotlight in the 90s as part of allegations of disproportionate assets against the then AIADMK chief