Thrissur: As the probe into the death of violinist Balabhaskar goes on it has emerged his driver Arjun, who is under a cloud of suspicion over the fatal accident, has several cases against him, including those for gold smuggling and ATM robberies!
He was caught by the shadow police for trying to commit two ATM robberies in Thrissur and Palakkad districts about three years ago. This is when his criminal background first came to be known, it is said.
When the police asked him why did he attempt the risky ATM robbery, Arjun allegedly said, "If I succeed at least once, then I will never have to do this again."
Arjun, a resident of Patturaikkal in Thrissur, was caught by the police for ATM robbery while he was studying for engineering. His partner in crime was Fazil, an Attoor native who had acted as the lead in several music albums. They attempted the robbery at Panjal and Lakkidi. The first robbery attempt was at the Bank of Baroda ATM at Lakkidi on January 11, 2016. However, it did not succeed. Then they tried to break into the SBI ATM at Panjal on February 25. The similarities in both the crimes led the police to Arjun.
Arjun and his gang also deceived merchants by claiming that he could offer them gold at lower rates than market price as it had been smuggled from the Gulf. However, cases were not registered against them as the merchants were reluctant in pressing charges. He was then nabbed in a sting operation after the police personnel approached him pretending to be gold merchants.
Arjun reportedly tried to swindle people out of their money by claiming that he knew the way to hidden treasure and would help find it. He also claimed that he possessed the precious Nagamanikyam.
Statement of doctors
Meanwhile, the Crime Branch probing the violinist's death would take the statements of doctors at a private hospital in the Kerala capital, where Balabhaskar had undergone treatment after the accident.
Balabhaskar's family had met with the accident at Pallipuram in Thiruvananthapuram on September 25, 2018. His toddler daughter was killed on the spot, while Balabhaskar died later at the hospital. His wife Lakshmi and driver Arjun escaped with injuries.
Balabhaskar's former programme coordinator Prakash Thamby, who was arrested in a gold smuggling case later, helped the couple at the hospital. The officers would also inquire about the visitors to the hospital during the time. The Crime Branch is yet to get any evidence that links Prakash Thamby to the car accident, it is said.