The Crime Branch of the CID on Thursday arrested three more cops of Tamil Nadu Police - Inspector Sridhar, Sub-inspector Balakrishnan and constable Murugan - on murder charges in connection with the death of a father-son duo, allegedly thrashed at a police station in the town of Tuticorin. Four more constables were named in the FIR.
The Crime Branch on Wednesday had arrested sub-inspector Raghu Ganesh after it booked six people on murder charges in connection with the custodial deaths.
P Jayaraj and his son Benicks, arrested for 'violating' lockdown norms over business hours of their cellphone shop, died at a hospital in Kovilpatti on June 23, with their relatives alleging they were severely thrashed at the Sathankulam police station by police personnel earlier.
The incident triggered a national furore, leading to the suspension of four policemen.
A government doctor’s report confirmed that the father-son duo had suffered multiple injuries, allegedly due to police torture.
The report by Dr. Venkatesh, who is attached to the Kovilpatti Government Hospital and was summoned to the Kovilpatti sub-jail to examine and treat the two detainees on June 20, recorded that both father and son had suffered injuries in the gluteal region, while Benicks had also suffered an injury on his right knee. In both the cases, the doctor recorded “Gluteal region – multiple marks present.” He had also recommended an X-Ray on the right knee of Benicks the next day. However, both of them got seriously ill on June 21 and died the next day at the Kovilpatti government hospital, first the son and later the father.
Custodial death of the two traders has again raised the spectre of police violence in Thoothukudi district and has put the present AIADMK government in a spot. It was in May 2018 that Thoothukudi witnessed police firing on anti-Sterlite protesters in which 13 persons died and more than 100 got injured. The latest incident of custodial torture has once again shown the Tamil Nadu police in a poor light and has raised questions whether the lower level constabulary is having an unchecked run using the cover curbs imposed by coronavirus.
(With inputs from PTI)