The Tamil Nadu government has decided to transfer the probe into the death of a father-son duo, alleged victims of police torture in Tuticorin district, to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Chief Minister K Palaniswami said on Sunday.
The government’s decision will be informed to the Madras High Court, which is seized of the matter, and secure its approval before transferring the case to the central agency, he told reporters.
“The government has decided that the CBI will probe the case,” Palaniswami said.
P Jayaraj and his son Fennix, 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 has triggered a national furore, leading to the suspension of four policemen, including two sub-inspectors.
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.
Though two sub-inspectors have been suspended and the inspector of the station has been put on compulsory wait, magistrate Saravanan, who remanded the two to jail without even examining them orally, has not been questioned.