Trichy: The National Investigation Agency(NIA) has arrested a 48-year-old man in connection with the murder of Ramalingam in Tamil Nadu’s Thirubhuvanam.

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The accused, Mohammed Faruk was arrested from Trichy, a day after the NIA officials conducted search operations at his residence in Illangakurichy village located in Tiruchirapalli district.

The NIA officials seized incriminating evidence from the locations on May 2. Faruk was summoned for questioning on Thursday, May 9.  The evidence collected from the residence and his questioning revealed the extent of involvement of Faruk in the case.

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Faruk and other accused in the murder had hatched a criminal conspiracy for committing a terrorist act. They chopped off Ramalingam’s hands, the officials said.

Tamil Nadu Police has arrested 10 accused in the case. Six others are still absconding. On February 5, Ramalingam was attacked by a gang when he was returning home from work with his son. 

The accused had used sickles and injured him grievously. His son's efforts to protect him from the attackers were in vain. He was pronounced dead at a government hospital on February 6.

42-year-old Ramalingam, was murdered the same day that he confronted a few men who allegedly attempted to convert people to Islam. Ramalingam removed the skullcap worn by one of the men in the gang and put ash on his forehead.

Initially, a case was registered at Thiruvidaimarudur police station in Thanjavur district on February 6. Later, the case was taken over by the NIA. The NIA had conducted raids on PFI activists in Thanjavur.

The department has also searched the offices of the PFI and the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) in Trichy, Kumbakonam and Karaikal.