Madras HC transfers father-son custodial death case to CBCID

Chennai: The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court on Tuesday directed the Crime Branch Crime Investigation Department (CBCID) to take over the probe into the custodial death of father and son in the Tuticorin district.

It’s an interim measure to protect evidence till the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) takes up the case, as decided by the Tamil Nadu government.

P. Jeyaraj and his son J. Bennicks had been booked for not closing their mobile shop in time on June 19 by the Sathankulam police. They were sent to the judicial custody and lodged in Kovilpatti jail on June 21.

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Jeyaraj died on June 22 night and Bennicks on June 23 morning in the judicial custody, allegedly due to the police torture.

The court, which took suo moto cognizance of the case, observed that there were chances of the evidence being tampered with and appointed CB-CID Deputy Superintendent of Police Anil Kumar to handle the case.

On Monday, the court had ordered the Revenue Department officials to take over the Sathankulam police station to protect evidences from tampering.

The court also said there was prima facie evidence to register a murder case against the Santhankulam police officials. The preliminary post-mortem report pointed to various injuries on bodies of Jeyaraj and Bennicks.

Meanwhile, the court asked the three policemen — Additional Superintendent of Police D. Kumar, Deputy Superintendent of Police C. Prathapan, and constable Maharajan — to file their explanations in four weeks, while hearing the criminal contempt case initiated against them.

The high court also took a serious view of the report by the Kovilpatti Judicial Magistrate who said Maharajan made a very disparaging remark against him while the other two officers were present.

All the officials at the Sathankulam police station have been shifted out.

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