Tamil Nadu transfers custodial deaths case to CBI; court summons policemen

Last Updated 29 June 2020, 19:07 IST

Tamil Nadu government on Monday night transferred to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) the case relating to the alleged custodial deaths of a father and his son in Sathankulam in Thoothukudi district.

An order signed by S K Prabhakar, an 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.

The notification by the government comes hours after the Madurai Bench, initiated contempt proceedings against two police officers and a constable from Thoothukudi district for preventing a Judicial Magistrate appointed by it from conducting an enquiry into the alleged custodial deaths.

The contempt proceedings came after the Kovilpatti Judicial Magistrate (JM), M S Bharathidasan, submitted a report to the high court bench narrating the events at the Sathankulam Police station, where the duo were 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. Taking a serious view of the report by the JM, the division bench of P N Prakash and B Pugalendhi ordered the aforementioned policemen to appear before it at 10.30 am on Tuesday (June 30).

(Published 29 June 2020, 19:07 IST)

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