30 October, 2020

The Green Terror Valley

One more death haunts Jaya’s estate. It may have no links with the dispute, yet has added to the mystery.

Danger Zone
The Kodanad Tea Estate in Nilgiris
The Green Terror Valley

For all their scenic beauty, the undulating hills of Kodanad have kept up a steady supply of intr­igues—all from J. Jayalalitha’s sprawling tea estate. One more life is gone: young Dinesh Kumar, an accountant at the 1,100-acre property, committed suicide on July 3. The end of the 24-year-old has given yet another twist to the string of deaths associated with the summer getaway of the late Tamil Nadu chief minister.

The latest in the list is victim number three. The first to die was Om Bahadur, a Nepali security guard who was attacked when a gang stormed the estate during a daring robbery attempt on the night of April 24. Within four days, C. Kanagaraj, an erstwhile driver at the estate, mysteriously died near Salem in a road accid­ent. The 36-year-old was the prime suspect in the robbery. He had left his job at the Kodanad estate in 2012.

Dinesh, who was also a computer operator at the tea estate’s office, hanged himself at his Kilkotagiri home, 12 km from Kodanad. Before any talk about public suspicion could spread, the police attributed...



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