Auto Shankar

Auto Shankar

Auto Shankar
Born: January 21, 1954(1954-01-21)
Chennai, India
Died: April 27, 1995 (aged 41)
Cause of death: Death by hanging
Number of victims: 6
Span of killings: 1988–1989
Country: India

Auto Shankar (January 21, 1954 – April 27, 1995) is the nickname of an Indian serial killer.


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Shankar and his gang[clarification needed] were found guilty of six murders, committed over a period of two years in 1988–1989.[1] They were tried for the murders of Lalitha, Sudalai, Sampath, Mohan, Govindaraj and Ravi.[1] The bodies of the victims were either burnt or buried inside residential houses.[1]

In late 1988, over a period of approximately six months, nine teenage girls from the Thiruvanmiyur section of Chennai disappeared. In the beginning, investigators believed that the girls had been sold into prostitution by families unable to afford wedding dowries, but the consistent denials by their kin forced them to seek another explanation.[citation needed]

Late in December, a schoolgirl named Subalakshmi claimed that an auto rickshaw driver had attempted to abduct her in front of a wine shop. Working undercover in the local wine shop back-rooms, detectives learned of a rumour that an auto driver called Shankar was behind the crimes, disposing of the bodies by cremating them and pouring the remains into the Bay of Bengal. The following morning, the police picked up the suspect who overnight became known to the nation as “Auto Shankar”.[citation needed]


Shankar’s trial was completed by the Chengalpattu sessions court;[1] He was sentenced to death along with two of his associates, Eldin and Shivaji, on May 31, 1991.[1]

During his trial, Shankar blamed films for “making a devil of him”;[cite this quote] however, a month before his execution, he told reporters that he had kidnapped the girls for powerful state politicians, subsequently disposing of them after his patrons had raped them.[citation needed] Auto Shankar was hanged in Salem Central Prison.[1]


In 2002, Shankar’s five accomplices were sentenced to six months of Rigorous Imprisonment after having been found guilty by a Magistrate.[2] The accomplices were Shankar’s brother, Mohan, Selva (alias Selvaraj) and the jail warders Kannan, Balan and Rahim Khan.[2] They were found guilty of criminal conspiracy and resistance or obstruction by a person to his lawful apprehension.[2]

Subsequently, Mohan was also found guilty of the six murders and was given three life sentences.[1] Mohan had earlier escaped from the Chennai Central Prison in August 1990 and was re-arrested in Pune on June 25, 1992.[1]


K. Vijay Kumar, the Tamil Nadu Additional Director-General of Police, claimed that cinema was solely responsible for making Shankar a criminal.[3] He mentioned this during a seminar on “Crime and Media” in Kerala.

The trial has become widely known across the nation since the Supreme Court invoked the American free speech doctrine and the case became oft-quoted in relation to cases of expose.[4][5][6]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h The Hindu : Auto Shankar’s brother gets life imprisonment
  2. ^ a b c The Hindu : RI for jail warders in ‘Auto’ Shankar case
  3. ^ The Hindu : Media, police should not harm society’s interests
  4. ^ The Hindu : Whistles, stings and slapps
  5. ^ The Hindu : Tehelka: what next?
  6. ^ The Hindu : The Tehelka Commission
NAME Shankar, Auto
DATE OF BIRTH January 21, 1954
PLACE OF BIRTH Chennai, India
DATE OF DEATH April 27, 1995
PLACE OF DEATH Salem, Tamil Nadu, India

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