Will not interfere in decision to transfer custodial deaths probe to CBI: Madras HC to TN

Last Updated 17 August 2021, 07:06 IST

Observing that it cannot have a say in Tamil Nadu government’s decision to transfer the case involving custodial deaths of a father and his son to the CBI, the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court on Monday (June 29) asked the Thoothukudi collector to direct revenue officials to take control of the Sathankulam Police Station to collect relevant documents.

A division bench of Justices P N Prakash and B Pugalendhi also came down heavily on the Sathankulam Police for not cooperating with the Kovilpatti Judicial Magistrate who is probing the custodial deaths of P Jeyaraj (61), and his son Emmanuel Bennix (31).

As Additional Advocate General (AAG) K Chellapandian sought permission from the court to transfer the case to CBI, the judges said they have no say in the issue as it was a policy decision by the government.

The duo were taken into custody by the police in Sathankulam town on June 19 following an argument over keeping their shops open beyond 9:00 pm. The duo were alleged to have been tortured by police during custody and was shifted to Kovilpatti sub-jail on June 21. However, the son died on June 22 and the father on June 23 triggering massive protests by family members and relatives.

The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court took suo moto cognizance of the case and had constituted a team of doctors to conduct the post-mortem on the father and his son. It had also issued a slew of direction to the judicial magistrate regarding inquest into the custodial deaths.

On Monday, the bench noted that the Principal District Judge, Thoothukudi, who is closely monitoring the investigation into the custodial deaths, has brought to their notice that the Sathankulam police were not cooperating with the judicial magistrate (JM) probing the incident.

While expressing displeasure at the behaviour of the Sathankulam police, the judges asked Thoothukudi district collector Sandeep Nanduri to direct revenue officials to take control of the Sathankulam police station, where the duo were allegedly tortured before being lodged in a sub-jail, to facilitate the JM to collect relevant documents or evidence for the probe.

(Published 29 June 2020, 11:21 IST)

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