VELLORE: Thirty-six years after naxalite Sivalingam (74) alias Anbu, killed three policemen and three of his associates by hurling a country-made bomb, a Vellore court on Monday awarded him five life imprisonments till death, along with a concurrent sentence of 10 years’ rigourous imprisonment. This is the first time that a five-life term verdict was awarded by a Vellore court. The verdict was given in a case registered by the Tirupattur police under Sections 3 and 4 of the Explosives Substances Act in 1980. The offender, who was active during the 1980s’ naxal conflict in the northern Tamil Nadu, had slipped out of 11 such cases.
According to Public Prosecutor S R Shanmugam, who represented the State, Sivalingam and his associates Perumal, Rajappa, Selvam, and Chinnathambi were nabbed by a police team led by inspector Palanisamy on August 6, 1980. The arrest was effected in connection with a double murder case. Sivalingam broke out of custody while being transported to the Tiruppattur station by detonating a country-made bomb that he was hiding. Police inspector Palanisamy and two constables – Yesudas and Murugesan – and Sivalingam’s associates – Perumal, Rajappa, and Selvam – were killed. The case was then transferred to the CB-CID. After 29 years, Sivalingam was arrested by the Villupuram police in connection with another case.
On Monday, Vellore additional district and session court Judge S Natarajan found Sivalingam guilty under the Explosives Substances Act, and based his verdict on the IPC 34 and 302. The verdict was arrived at with the support of 14 witnesses. In a bid to free northern Tamil Nadu from naxalism in the 1980s, the then Chief Minister M G Ramachandran had launched a special operation. As many as 19 naxals were killed by four police teams before the region was brought under complete control. Incidentally, Chinnathambi, the only other surviving suspect from the incident, died recently of natural causes, making Sivalingam the only survivor in the case. He is a native of Vakkanampatti village near Jolarpet and was working in the railways before getting involved in the naxal movement.
August 6, 1980: Naxalite Sivalingam and his associates – Perumal, Rajappa, Selvam and Chinnathambi – were picked up a police team in connection with a double murder and were being taken to Tirupattur taluk police station The police vehicle stopped at Tirupattur as Sivalingam wanted to relieve himself Suddenly, Sivalingam hurled a country bomb that he was hiding in his innerwear and escaped from the spot with Chinnathambi Police inspector Palanisamy, constables – Yesudas and Murugesan – and three suspects – Perumal, Rajappa and Selvam – died in the explosion
In 2009, Sivalingam was arrested in connection with another case in Tiruvalluvar district. Chinnathambi, who was arrested earlier, died a few years ago Following this, CB-CID police reopened the case on October 11, 2010 On Monday, Sivalingam was awarded five life terms under the provision of 302 (punishment for murder) of the IPC read with 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) of the IPC and 10 years RI under sections 3 and 4 of Explosives Substances Act 1908.