(Eds: Combines related stories)
Tuticorin (TN), Jul 1 (PTI) The Crime-Branch CID on
Wednesday slapped murder charges on six people, including two
sub-inspectors, and arrested one of them as it took over the
probe into the alleged custodial torture leading to the death
of a father-son duo in this southern district, amid intense
judicial scrutiny and nation-wide outrage.
Within hours of taking over the probe on the directions
of the Madras High Court, the specialised investigating agency
altered the FIRs to include murder charges against SIs Raghu
Ganesh and Balakrishnan, as many constables and members of
Friends of Police (volunteers) of the Sathankulam police
station, CB-CID sources said.
It arrested Raghu Ganesh late on Wednesday night shortly
after state Law Minister Law Minister C Ve Shanmugam assured
that the government would ensure "highest punishment" to those
responsible for the deaths of P Jeyaraj and his son Bennicks,
who were allegedly thrashed at the police station recently.
The murder charges capped dramatic developments both in
the court and outside where a woman head constable witness to
the happenings told a Magisterial probe that the two traders
were thrashed an entire night by the other police personnel at
Sathankulam station where they were detained over alleged
lockdown violations late last month.
The death of the duo on June 23, which saw an outpouring
of anger with people from various walks of life condemning the
"police brutality", also drew the attention of the National
Human Rights Commission (NHRC) as it issued notices to the
state police chief and Tuticorin Superintendent of Police,
seeking a detailed report.
Jeyaraj and Bennicks, arrested for "violating" lockdown
norms over the business hours of their cell phone shop, died
at a hospital in Kovilpatti on June 23 while in judicial
custody with the relatives alleging they were tortured at the
Sathankulam police station by the personnel days earlier.
The probe into the case has since been transferred to the
Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) by the state government,
though the court ordered the CB-CID to take over it till the
central agency handled it, fearing evidence may disappear.
Top Tamil film star Rajinikanth described the deaths as
"brutal killing," and slammed the alleged inappropriate
behaviour of some policemen with a Judicial Magistrate at the
Sathankulam police station when he conducted an enquiry.
Incidentally, the Sathankulam police station is now under
the Revenue Department control, seen as an "unprecedented"
development so far in the country, after the high court issued
an order after the conduct of the local police personnel came
under intense scrutiny.
Legal experts differed on the reasons with one opining
that the court could have given such a direction apprehending
possible destruction of evidence by police.
Another view was that Revenue department is the authorised
organ of the government to take possession of buildings, as
warranted in specific cases such as this.
An advocate, who did not want to be named, said the move
could have been prompted by the fact that the department also
enjoys some Executive powers such as issuing summons.
In her statement to the Judicial Magistrate earlier, Head
Constable Revathy said the personnel at the Sathankulam police
station thrashed Jeyaraj and his son the whole night there and
lathis used for allegedly assaulting them and a table carried
The two persons were "beaten up the entire night by police
personnel there (Sathankulam PS) using lathis... due to this
there were blood stains on the lathis and a table and she said
they (stains) should be collected immediately as they
(policemen) could try to erase them," the report of the
Mentioning her statement in a four-page report to the
Madras High Court Madurai Bench, the JM probing the deaths
said the constable feared receiving threat if she revealed the
He further submitted that Revathy did not sign on her
statement immediately and did so after a long time upon being
assured of her safety. Her statement was "recorded carefully".
The Madras High Court, which has taken up the matter of
the death of the duo, had on Tuesday transferred the probe to
the CB-CID under DSP Anil Kumar.
Officials led by Kumar conducted enquiries with the family
members of the deceased on Wednesday, besides in the locality
where the duo ran their cellphone shop.
CB-CID sleuths also visited the Sathankulam police
The FIRs filed earlier were altered to include murder
charges under Indian Penal Code section 302 against the four
police personnel and the two Friends of Police.
Meanwhile, the NHRC said it has sought a report from
the police officers, which has to include reports of inquest,
post-mortem, medical treatment record, magisterial inquiry and
health screening report of both victims, within 6 weeks.
Law Minister Shanmugam said the state government was
"determined that the guilty should be punished."
"...(the government will) ensure the highest punishment
for those responsible for the death of the father and the
son," he said in a statement.
"We are aware of the sufferings of a family that has
lost a father, son, husband," he added.
This was not a usual lock-up death and since allegations
have been made against a number of persons like police
personnel, jail authorities and government doctor, "there is a
responsibility before the Tamil Nadu government to find
answers and punish the culprits," he added.
He also slammed the opposition DMK and its chief MK
Stalin, charging them with trying to politicising the matter.
Meanwhile, actor Rajinikanth, who had donned the role of
policeman in several films including his latest ''Durbar'',
described as "brutal killing" the death of the two.
"#sathyama vidave koodathu (this should not be spared
at any cost,)," the actor, who had days ago spoken to
Jeyaraj''s wife, said about the episode in a tweet, with the
hashtag in Tamil trending on Twitter minutes after he put up
the post with an image of him, striking a visibly angry pose.
"While the entire humanity has opposed the brutal killing
of the father and son by torture, I was shocked at the way
some policemen behaved and spoke in front of the (judicial)
magistrate. All those involved should get appropriate
punishment. This should not be spared," he said.
After detention in the police station, the father and
son were produced before a magistrate and sent to judicial
remand. After they complained of uneasiness in the jail, they
were taken to the hospital where both died. PTI CORR SA
Disclaimer :- This story has not been edited by Outlook staff and is auto-generated from news agency feeds. Source: PTI
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