Tuticorin Custodial Deaths: SI Arrested, 6 Slapped With Murder Charges

TUTICORIN: The Crime-Branch CID on Wednesday slapped murder charges on six people, including two sub-inspectors, and arrested one of them as it took over the probe into the alleged custodial torture leading to the death of a father-son duo in this southern district, amid intense judicial scrutiny and nation-wide outrage.

Within hours of taking over the probe on the directions of the Madras High Court, the specialised investigating agency altered the FIRs to include murder charges against SIs Raghu Ganesh and Balakrishnan, as many constables and members of Friends of Police (volunteers) of the Sathankulam police station, CB-CID sources said.

It arrested Raghu Ganesh late on Wednesday night shortly after state Law Minister Law Minister C Ve Shanmugam assured that the government would ensure "highest punishment" to those responsible for the deaths of P Jeyaraj and his son Bennicks, who were allegedly thrashed at the police station recently.

The murder charges capped dramatic developments both in the court and outside where a woman head constable witness to the happenings told a Magisterial probe that the two traders were thrashed an entire night by the other police personnel at Sathankulam station where they were detained over alleged lockdown violations late last month.

The death of the duo on June 23, which saw an outpouring of anger with people from various walks of life condemning the "police brutality", also drew the attention of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) as it issued notices to the state police chief and Tuticorin Superintendent of Police, seeking a detailed report.

Jeyaraj and Bennicks, arrested for "violating" lockdown norms over the business hours of their cell phone shop, died at a hospital in Kovilpatti on June 23 while in judicial custody with the relatives alleging they were tortured at the Sathankulam police station by the personnel days earlier. PTI

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