Jayaraj and Bennix: CBI Accuses Police Officers of 'Criminal Conspiracy', Extreme Brutality

In a chargesheet, the investigating agency says the accused officers were aware that the "deliberately inflicted" and "severe bleeding injuries" were sufficient to cause the death of the father-son duo.

Trigger warning: Descriptions of violence

New Delhi: A chargesheet filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has described the brutal custodial torture of father-son duo Jayaraj and Bennix as a criminal conspiracy by the accused police officers, saying they were aware that the “deliberately inflicted” and “severe bleeding injuries” were sufficient to cause their death.

The chargesheet, reported by The News Minute‘s Priyanka Thirumurthy, details the brutal torture that the Sathankulam police handed down to the duo Jayaraj and Bennix, who died due to the injuries they sustained while in custody in June this year.

The investigating agency has also produced forensic reports which showed that the victims’ DNA samples were found on the walls of the lockup, in the toilet, in the station house officer’s room and the lathis of policemen, which suggests that the duo lost a lot of blood as a result of the police’s beatings. The DNA samples were collected during the judicial enquiry by the Kovilpatti magistrate.

The chargesheet says this evidence establishes the fact that the duo “were subjected to brutal torture by the accused police officials”, saying they “deliberately inflicted severe bleeding injuries to both of them, knowing well that the injuries caused by them on the person of the deceased Bennix and Jayaraj were sufficient in the ordinary course of nature to cause their death.”

The chargesheet has corroborated many of the allegations that were levelled against the policemen, including that Jayaraj and Bennix were made to wipe their blood off the floor with their own clothes.

Jayaraj was picked up by the police on June 19, allegedly because his shop was kept open even after the curfew that was put in place as part of the restrictions to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus. When his son Bennix went to the police station, he was also locked up. Over the next three days, they were brutally assaulted by the policemen. While Bennix died on the night of June 22 at the Government Hospital in Kovilpatti due to heavy internal bleeding, his father died on the next day, also at the same hospital.

According to The News Minute, the chargesheet establishes that  Jayaraj was picked up first by sub-inspector Balakrishnan, inspector S. Sridhar, constable M. Muthuraja and other officials from Kamarajar Chowk in Sathankulam around 7:30 pm.

Also Read: Justice for Jayaraj and Bennix Means Ending a Culture of Impunity

When Bennix rushed to the police station, he saw that his father was being beaten by SI Balakrishnan. He objected to that and asked why his father was brought to the police station. A scuffle ensued and Bennix pushed away constable Muthuraja in an act of self-defence, the chargesheet says.

The chargesheet holds that Bennix was also “wrongfully confined” then. Along with the other accused, SI Balakrishnan started beating Bennix severely. While this was taking place, inspector Sridhar “instigated the accused persons”. The chargesheet describes their actions as a criminal conspiracy that was meant to give Bennix a “good beating to teach him a lesson on how to behave with the police.”

When the torture and beatings stopped, inspector Sridhar prodded his staff by asking them why the police station was silent, The News Minute report says, adding that such actions instigated the other accused “start fresh rounds of beatings”.

The chargesheet notes that Jayaraj and Bennix were stripped to their underwear to “add to the brutality of the torture”. They were beaten with a lathi on their buttocks, back and other parts of the body while their legs and arms were held, it says.

The torture continued despite Jayaraj’s pleas that he had high blood pressure and was diabetic and would not be able to handle grievous injuries.

Illustrating the inhumane lengths to which the Sathankulam police went, the CBI noted that the victims were made to “wipe their blood off the floors with their own clothes”.

The final post mortem report establishes that Bennix died of complications caused by blunt injuries, states The News Minute report. The inquest reports and final post mortem report establishes the allegations that “in furtherance of a criminal conspiracy and with common intention”, the police officials had “brutally tortured” him and inflicted severe injuries “knowing well that he would die of the complications of such blunt injuries sustained”, the chargesheet says.