Ex-MP, Vice Chairman of T.N. Minorities Commission D. Masthan smothered to death: Police

In a major twist in the death of former Rajya Sabha member Dr D Masthan, the Tambaram city police have arrested five people, including two of his relatives, on Friday for allegedly smothering him to death in Chengalpattu district on December 22. Police said Masthan was murdered in a financial dispute with his kin. 

Based on a complaint from Masthan’s son Uraris Shanavas, the Guduvanchery police had initially registered a case of suspicious death. According to the first FIR, Masthan suffered chest pain while travelling in a car to Tiruchy from Chennai and was rushed to a private hospital in Chengalpattu where he was declared dead. An autposy was conducted later. 

Special police teams nabbed Imran Batcha, son-in-law of Masthan’s uncle, who was in the car with the former MP on the day. “The autopsy report confirmed that Masthan had died of suffocation. Imran Batcha’s statement was contradictory to CCTV footages picked up from the spot and call records accessed by us. Batcha disclosed the truth during inquiry,” a police officer said. 

Police said Imran Batcha had got Rs 15 lakh from Masthan over a period of two years. “Masthan demanded Imran to pay back the money pointing to his son’s wedding,” police  sources said.  Masthan was visiting friends and relatives to distribute the wedding invitation. On December 22, Batcha picked up Masthan from Chennai claiming to meet a financier who would settle his debt.

Batcha was accompanied by his cousin Thameem alias Sultan Ahmed and his friend Nazeer. While Batcha was driving the car, Nazeer and Ahmed were seated behind. “After crossing the Paranur tollgate in Chengalpattu, Batcha parked the car on the side. Nazeer held the hands of Masthan from behind while Ahmed held Masthan’s nose and mouth together, suffocating him,” said A Amalraj, Tambaram City Police Commissioner. 

OTHER two suspects in the case, Thoufeek and Lokeshwaran, were following Batcha in another car. After smothering Masthan to death, Nazeer and Sultan Ahmed switched cars and the four men sped away. Batcha drove Masthan to a nearby private hospital where he was declared dead.

After a complaint by Uraris Shanavas, the Guduvanchery police sent the body to Chengalpattu GH for postmortem. Sources said Batcha tried to bribe mortuary staff to file a false report, but failed. Police arrested all the five suspects and remanded them in judicial custody on Friday.

Dr D Masthan (66) was a former AIADMK Rajya Sabha MP (1995-2001), and was holding the post of vice-chairman of the state minorities commission during his death. CM Stalin lauded Masthan as a DMK foot soldier who had a love and respect for him. The CM recalled his exemplary performance as the secretary of the DMK minorities’ wing and said Masthan was unmatched in hosting Iftar parties.

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