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Sridhar Dhanapalan, ‘Dawood of TN’ consumes cyanide in Cambodia

The Indian Express logoThe Indian Express 05-10-2017 arun janardhanan

Dhanapalan’s Indian passport had been blocked and he was being closely tracked by various agencies, including the Interpol. © Provided by Indian Express Dhanapalan’s Indian passport had been blocked and he was being closely tracked by various agencies, including the Interpol. Sridhar Dhanapalan, an illegal arrack seller turned land dealer who was once known as the “Dawood of Tamil Nadu”, allegedly committed suicide by taking cyanide in Cambodia, top police sources said on Wednesday.

Dhanapalan’s Indian passport had been blocked and he was being closely tracked by various agencies, including the Interpol.

The wanted land dealer, who at one point was in Dubai, had moved to Cambodia via Colombo.

“The incident (Dhanapalan’s death) was reported around 8pm on Wednesday. He was reportedly brought dead to a hospital in Cambodia after he took cyanide. Before his suicide, he called up his associates in Kancheepuram and told them he was going to die. He told them that the police was the main reason for his death as he was not able to come back to India,” said a senior officer.

In his only interview, given to The Indian Express in January 2016, he had said he was ready to return to the country and face legal proceedings if he was assured of a “fair trial”. The 44-year-old said he feared he would be killed by Tamil Nadu police if he returned on his own after his “business visa expires in 2017”.

In that interview Dhanapalan had spoken of ending his life by consuming cyanide.

“If the Tamil Nadu DGP or a good IPS officer asks me to come tomorrow and promises me a fair trial, I am happy to settle all my cases. They don’t have to kill me in an encounter,” he said. “I myself will commit suicide with cyanide if there is any basis for the charges against me,” he said from Dubai.

According to police sources, Dhanapalan dabbled in the oil business in Dubai but was forced to flee to Sri Lanka and then to Cambodia recently. “As his passport was blocked, he took a boat to Colombo and then Cambodia,” the source added.

In the interview to The Indian Express, Dhanapalan said he was a casino regular with assets worth no less than Rs 500 crore.

After Dhanapalan fled India in 2013, the police moved papers with the Centre and Interpol to get his custody. Of the 43 cases in which Dhanapalan was named, seven of them were murders.

Dhanapalan was known for attacks on people who refused to agree to his land deals.

One of his last encounters with Tamil Nadu police was in January 2016 when he dialled the number of a Kancheepuram police station inspector, threatening he would blow up all police stations in the area if his men were not released from custody. He wanted the officer to convey the message to the DGP.

What had provoked Dhanapalan was the arrest of his seven associates, among them his brother, under the Goonda Act.

At least 18 cases against Dhanapalan were awaiting trial, including one murder and six attempts to murder.

Even after his passport was cancelled, he used to travel to Colombo where he would summon owners of properties in Tamil Nadu he wanted to buy raising death threats.

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