Two Tamil Nadu ministers on Friday refuted charges of apathy in not helping a policeman bleeding to death on the road, saying they ensured that the victim was sent to hospital without delay in a vehicle of their convoy.
As video footage of sub-inspector Vetrivel crying for help with the two ministers around him evoked outrage, Health Minister M.R.K. Pannerselvam defended himself and Sports Development Minister T.P.M. Mohideen Khan in the assembly, saying the charges against them were “totally wrong”.
Pannerselvam said that on seeing the policeman’s plight, he and Khan immediately called for an ambulance, which had to come from Tenkasi.
“As there could be a delay, we arranged for a police vehicle to move him to hospital,” he said, refuting the allegation that they did not take any step to hospitalise Vetrivel.
Tirunelveli district collector M. Jayaraman, who was part of the ministers’ convoy, said the safety of Pannerselvam and Khan had to be taken into account while making arrangements to rush Vetrivel to hospital.
“There were two cars of the ministers, two escort cars and my car. We arranged to send the injured SI in one of the escort cars immediately and telephoned hospitals at Ambasamuthiram and Tiruneveli to be ready to give emergency treatment,” Jayaraman said.
Vetrivel’s body was buried with full police honours at Mullikulam. Hundreds of residents paid homage but the two ministers kept away.
Vetrivel, 44, a member of the Special Task Force that gunned down Veerappan in 2004, lay in a pool of blood with a severed leg and begged for help after the attack by a gang at Alwarkuruchi on Thursday, shortly before the ministerial convoy was to pass by.
AIADMK chief Jayalalithaa demanded the sacking of two ministers, accusing them of not taking any action to save the life of a policeman despite witnessing his plight.
“The ministers did not take any step to save the sub-inspector. They had only called for an ambulance during the golden hour period,” she said.