Trader, associate shot dead in Vavuniya

[TamilNet, Thursday, 22 March 2007, 11:47 GMT]
Unidentified armed men on a motorcycle shot dead a trader and his associate, spraying bullets at them near the trader's house at Pothisumaku road in Vavuniya Wednesday around 7:25 p.m. and escaped, Vavuniya police said. Vavuniya magistrate Mr. Manickavasagar Illancheliyan conducted inquiries Thursday morning at Vavuniya hospital. The International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) facilitated the bodies were taken to the hospital.

The victims were identified as Gnanapragasam Joseph, 46, a trader and Velautham Deeswaran, 35. Joseph had a small shop near Aiya library located on Pothisumaku road in Vavuniya.

The killers had called Joseph out of his house by name and when he came out with Deeswaran who had been talking to him, had fired rapidly at close range, killing both on the spot, the police said.

The relatives of Joseph said in their statements to the magistrate that Joseph had paid a ransom of 300,000 rupees to an undisclosed person, and again had paid 75,000 rupees on a further demand.

The victims had no connection either to Tamil groups or Military or police and two months ago Joseph's shop had been searched twice by police on tips-off that there was a bomb in the shop, according to statements of Joseph's relatives.

The magistrate ordered the police to find the killers and to recover the empty shells of the T-56 rifle found at the crime scene.

The magistrate postponed further inquiries to 3rd April.


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