CHENNAI, July 10 (IANS): A week after a 13-year-old boy was killed in a military residential campus here, a 50-year-old retired army officer was arrested Sunday for the crime after he confessed that he was irritated by the boy's trespassing, police said.
Lt. Col. (retd) K. Ramaraj had shot K. Dilshan from the balcony of his residence on July 3 afternoon when the boy and his friends trespassed into the residential campus to pluck almonds. Dilshan was fatally wounded and succumbed to his injuries in a hospital.
"The Tamil Nadu Police is proud to say that a breakthrough has been achieved in the case with arrest of Ramaraj," Additional Director General of Police R. Sekar told reporters.
Ramaraj, who has three sons serving in the army, will be produced before a local court here Sunday.
"The initial suspicion was on somebody else. But the CB-CID (Crime Branch-Criminal Investigation Department) team ruled out that person and zeroed on Ramaraj," Sekar said.
He said the physical verification, forensic tests, ballistic test reports and views of weapon experts led to the detention of Ramaraj.
According to Sekar, the accused, who retired from service three months ago, had acquired a 0.30 calibre Springfield rifle in 2004 when he was posted in Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh.
"The licence had expired and he had applied for this at a police station here which we came to know of during our investigation," Sekar said.
The army officers here were not aware that Ramaraj was in possession of a rifle, he added.
According to the CB-CID, extensive searches were carried out at the place of shooting and a bullet component was recovered and sent for ballistic tests to ascertain the type of weapon used.
Initially it was thought that three boys, including Dilshan, had entered the campus. But the investigation established the presence of a fourth boy, who gave information about the probable involvement of Ramaraj in the shooting.
Twelve probe teams were consitituted to crack the case.
"On being interrogated, Ramaraj denied having committed the offence. When he was shown the gun licence submitted for renewal, he confessed," Sekar said.
Ramaraj confessed that he had thrown the rifle and the bullets into the Cooum river here. The police recovered the rifle from the river while the bullets were still to be found.
Sekar said the car used by Ramaraj for shielding the weapon was also seized.
According to CB-CID officials, Ramaraj was living with his wife here for the past two-and-a-half years.
"It was a very challenging case to crack. We feel happy that it has been cracked finally," Deputy Superintendent of Police Sonal V. Misra told IANS.