TN custodial deaths: HC orders police station to be taken over

Source :IANS
Author :IANS
Last Updated: Mon, Jun 29th, 2020, 23:27:26hrs

Chennai, June 29 (IANS) The Madras High Court's Madurai Bench on Monday asked the Tuticorin District Collector to depute officials from the Revenue Department to take control of the Sathankulam police station.

The court also intiated criminal contempt case against three policemen as the Kovilpatti Judicial Magistrate had reported tha the Tuticorin police was preventing him from carrying his inquiry in the custodial death of P.Jeyaraj and J. Bennicks.

Meanwhile the Tamil Nadu government passed an order transferring the probe into their death to Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

Jeyaraj and and his son Bennicks had been booked for not closing their mobile shop in time on June 19 by the Sathankulam police. They were sent to judicial custody and lodged in Kovilpatti jail on June 21.

Jeyaraj died on June 22 night and Bennicks on June 23 morning in the judicial custody, allegedly due to the police torture.

The court, which took suo moto cognizance of the case, also asked the forensic team to collect all the materials to protect the evidence after the Principal District and Sessions Judge, Tuticorin, who was monitoring the case, submitted that the Sathankulam police were not cooperating with the probe being conducted by the Kovilpatti Judicial Magistrate.

The court also initiated criminal contempt proceedings against D.Kumar, Additional Superintendent of Police, C.Prathapan, Deputy Superintendent of Police and constable Maharajan.

In his report, the Kovilpatti Judicial Magistrate had said Maharajan made a very disparaging remark against him while the other two officers were present.

The High Court also observed free and fair probe is not possible unless the three policemen are transferred.

The court also ordered the Additional Advocate General, Deputy Inspector General of Police, Tirunelveli range, and the Tuticorin District Superintendent of Police to appear before it on Tuesday.

When the government counsel asked for permission to transfer the probe to the CBI, the court said it was a policy decision and its permission was not needed.

To control the damage, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K. Palaniswami on Sunday announced transfer of the probe to the CBI and said the high court's permission would be sought for it.