Hours before they were to appear before the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court in connection with the custodial deaths of a father and his son, the Tamil Nadu government on Tuesday put two police officers and a constable from Thoothukudi district on wait list and under suspension, respectively.
While D Kumar, Additional Superintendent of Police, and C Prathapan, Deputy Superintendent of Police, were placed on the waiting list, constable Maharajan was suspended.
The action came hours before they were to appear before a division bench of P N Prakash and B Pugalendhi. The bench had ordered the aforementioned policemen to appear before it at 10.30 am on Tuesday (June 30) after the Kovilpatti Magistrate, who is probing into the custodial deaths, accused them of non-cooperation.
In a detailed report to the judges, the Kovilpatti Judicial Magistrate (JM), M S Bharathidasan narrated the events at the Sathankulam Police station, where the duo was allegedly tortured on Sunday evening when he went to conduct the enquiry.
In the report, the JM said a police constable, Maharajan, made a “very disparaging remark” against him in the presence of D Kumar, Additional Superintendent of Police, and C Prathapan, Deputy Superintendent of Police, even as policemen at the station recorded videos of the proceedings.
“You cannot pluck anything,” the constable told the Judicial Magistrate, according to the suo motu contempt petition, a copy of which was accessed by DH.
Hours after the contempt proceedings were initiated, the Tamil Nadu government on Monday night transferred the case to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
An order signed by S K Prabhakar, additional chief secretary to the Tamil Nadu government, said the Director General of Police (DGP) has requested the state government to transfer the case from the Kovilpatti police station to the CBI in order to “facilitate a free and fair investigation.”
The order also noted the observations made by the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court, which took suo moto cognizance of the case, that it will have no say in the government’s decision to transfer the case to CBI as it is a policy decision.