CBI files charge sheet against 9 police officials in Thoothukudi death case

Madurai: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has filed a charge sheet against nine then police officials in a Madurai court in connection with the custodial death of a father-son duo in Tamil Nadu’s Thoothukudi district.

According to the CBI, the accused include then Station House Officer S Sridhar, sub-inspectors K Balakrishnan and P Raghuganesh, then head constables S Murugan and A Samadurai, and then constables M Muthuraja, S Chelladurai, X Thomas Francis and S Veilumuthu.

The charge sheet has been filed under Section 120-B (criminal conspiracy), 302 (murder), 342 (wrongful confinement), 201 (disappearance of evidence), 182 (false information with the intent to cause public servant to use lawful power to the injury of another person), 193 (false evidence), 211 (false charge of offence made with the intent to injure), 218 (public servant framing incorrect record) and 34 (common intention) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

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The probe agency said that all the police personnel have been arrested and are currently undergoing judicial custody. It said that one more accused, a then sub-inspector, had died during the course of the investigation.

“CBI investigation revealed that the father-son duo was arrested in the evening of June 19, 2020, and allegedly tortured at the Sathankulam Police Station by the accused in the evening as well as in the intervening night, consequent to which both of them succumbed to the injuries and died in the intervening night of June 22 and 23,” the CBI said in a statement.

Notably, CBI officials said that nine CBI team members, while camping in Tamil Nadu in connection with the case, tested positive for COVID-19. A CBI team had camped continuously at Madurai and worked on the cases even amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The investigation also established that to cover up misdeeds the police officials not only destroyed the evidence of torture but also registered false cases against both (father and son). As they had not closed their mobile shops even after the permitted time and thereby violated general prohibited order. Further investigations are continuing in the case to look into the role of other persons in the death as well as subsequent cover-up act,” the statement said.

The agency had registered two cases on July 7, 2020, in connection with the alleged custodial death of a father-son duo identified as P Jeyaraj and J Benniks in Kovilpatti on the request of the Tamil Nadu government and further notification from the Central government.

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