Tuticorin Custodial Death: Top Cop Shunted Out, Admin Appoints Officials to Take Control of PS

Expressing fear that evidence could disappear by the time CBI took over the probe, the Madras HC has handed the case over to the CB-CID.

Madurai: The Superintendent of Police of Tuticorin, where a father-son duo died after being allegedly thrashed by the police last week, was on Tuesday shunted out of the district and placed under “compulsory wait” by the Tamil Nadu government.

Arun Balagopalan IPS “is brought to the compulsory wait at office of the Director General of Police,” a Home Department order said.

Villupuram SP S. Jeyakumar has been appointed in place of Balagopalan.

The government also posted S. Murugan, IG, Economic Offences Wing, Chennai as the IG, South Zone, vice KP Shanmuga Rajeswaran, who is retiring today.

Also read: TN Custodial Deaths: Madras HC Gives Orders for Clue Collection Amidst Police ‘Non-Cooperation’

Meanwhile, the Tuticorin district administration on Tuesday deputed officials to take “control” of Sathankulam police station, in line with a Madras high court directive that it be brought under the Revenue department.

Collector Sandeep Nanduri deputed a tahsildar and a deputy tahsildar to take “control” of the police station, official sources said.

Further, a forensic team from Madurai was involved in collecting evidence at the police station, as directed by the court.

The Madurai bench of the high court had on Monday directed deputing revenue officers to the Police station to preserve “clue materials” seized following the death of the two, after the Principal district judge submitted policemen there were not cooperating with the Judicial Magistrate on conducting the enquiry under CrPC.

Also read: Tuticorin MP Kanimozhi Says Custodial Deaths of Jayaraj, Bennix Saw ‘Failure at Many Levels’

P Jayaraj and his son Bennix (also spelled ‘Fenix’ and Bennicks’), arrested for ‘violating’ lockdown norms over business hours of their cellphone shop, died at a hospital in Kovilpatti on June 23, with the relatives alleging that they were severely thrashed at the Sathankulam police station by the personnel earlier.

The incident had triggered a nation-wide furore, leading to the suspension of five policemen, including an inspector and two Sub-Inspectors.

All the personnel posted at Sathankulam police station earlier have been transferred out.

HC orders case to be transferred to CB-CID

The Madras High Court on Tuesday ordered the transfer of investigation into the death of a father-son duo in Tuticorin, alleged victims of police torture, to the CB-CID, expressing fear that evidence could disappear by the time CBI took over the probe.

The case would be handled by the Deputy Superintendent of CB-CID, Tirunelveli, Anil Kumar.

The state government had on Monday transferred the probe to the central investigation agency.

A division bench of Justices P N Prakash and B Pugalendhi said the court was handing over the case to the CB-CID as it feared that evidence could disappear by the time CBI took over.