Sathankulam police ‘harass judge, HC fumes

The magistrate appointed by the Madras High Court to probe the alleged custodial deaths of a father and son at Thoothukudi in Tamil Nadu has written to the court saying officers of the police station concerned had destroyed evidence, did not cooperate in the investigation, and had tried to intimidate the judicial team.

Slamming the Sathankulam police personnel for not cooperating with the Kovilpatti Judicial Magistrate in the judicial inquiry conducted over the alleged custodial death of P Jeyaraj and his son Beniks-two traders – the Madurai Bench of Madras High Court, after expressing its displeasure, directed the Thoothukudi district collector Sandeep Nanduri to instruct revenue officials to take control of the police station for collecting the relevant documents.

The Thoothukudi police suspended Sathankulam station inspector Sridhar on Sunday, in connection to the alleged custodial deaths of a 58-year-old man named Jayaraj and his 31-year-old son Bennix. This decision comes after the inspector was shifted to the waiting list on June 24.

Thoothukudi Superintendent of police Arun Balagopalan confirmed that inspector Sridhar has been suspended but did not divulge further details.

The Super-intendent of Police, Arun Balagopalan, has appointed 27 new police personnel to Sathankulam police station on Monday. Transfer orders for the same with immediate effect were issued on Monday.

The High Court Monday directed the district collector to depute revenue officers to take control of the Sathankulam station. The court also initiated criminal contempt action against ASP D Kumar, DSP Prathapan and Constable Maharajan, named by Bharathidasan in his complaint. On Monday evening, the Tamil Nadu government passed an order transferring probe into the deaths of Jeyaraj and Bennix to the CBI.

The judges further directed the Additional Director of Forensic Sciences department to send a team of experts to collect materials from the station. They also granted liberty to utilise experts from Regional Forensic Sciences Laboratory if needed.

Jayaraj and his son Bennix, were taken into custody for allegedly not closing their mobile phone shop before the curfew imposed during the lockdown.