The Coimbatore Police on Monday denied that a 30-year-old engineer’s death, which has sparked anger in Tamil Nadu, was caused by a hoarding set up ahead of centenary celebrations of former chief minister MG Ramachandran.

The police said a lorry coming from the wrong side of the road had killed him, The Hindu reported. Activists and opposition parties in the state have alleged that K Ragupathy was killed because of the “illegal” hoarding, set up by the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam government, when he was riding a motorcycle on Saturday. After he fell from his vehicle, a lorry is believed to have crushed him.

Ragupathy lived in the United States and had come home to meet a prospective bride.

Soon after the news of the death, the words “Who Killed Ragu?” were seen painted at the spot of the accident on Avanashi Road. Police do not know who painted the sign.

The city police claimed it has visuals of the lorry that ran over Ragupathy. The police also said that two witnesses had reached the spot immediately after the incident. They have claimed that Ragupathy was not wearing a helmet either, NDTV reported.

A police official, however, said that the presence of the wooden arch hoarding on one side of the road might have forced Ragupathy to ride his motorcycle towards the centre of the one-way road. The hoarding allegedly occupied nearly one-fourth of the width of the road.

The driver of the lorry was arrested on Saturday night.

Outrage from opposition

Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam leader MK Stalin said that the government had “blatantly” violated a High Court order on “obstructive and dangerous hoardings”.

Actor Kamal Haasan on Sunday also attacked the state government on Twitter, and said: “Any government that regards power and fame even at the cost of life will fall.”

However, minister SP Velumani has denied that the structure was illegal and blamed the opposition for spreading false information.