A PIL was filed on Friday in the Madras high court for a direction to Tamil Nadu government to register a case of murder against six state policemen, including a Deputy Commissioner of Police, for killing five persons suspected to be involved in bank robberies here, in an alleged fake encounter in the city on February 22.
In the petition, also seeking a CBI inquiry into the deaths, advocate and Director of Prisoners' Rights Forum P Pugalenthi claimed once a plea of self defence was advanced by the police, the state had a constitutional obligation to immediately register a case against those responsible for the killings under section 302 (murder) and prosecute them in accordance with law.
The advocate said the City Police Commissioner had narrated to the media the sequence of events that led to the gunning down of the young men.
"Thus, according to the respondent four (Commissioner), five persons aged about 30-35 (years of age) were murdered by the police in exercise of their right of self-defence," the advocate said.
The police, he said, had released the footage of a man, suspected to be the 'king-pin' behind the robberies of the Indian Overseas Bank at Keelkattalai on information that the man was seen in a flat in posh Velachery area, a team of policemen went to the flat and asked the inmates to surrender.
However, when they started firing, the police opened fire in self-defence killing the five, the Commissioner had told the media.
The advocate said that according to residents of the area, the police had cordoned off the area by 10 pm on the night of February 22 whereas the Commissioner had told the media that the police had got specific information at about midnight and had cordoned off the area at around 1 am.
Thirty special teams had been set up by the police after the branches of Bank of Baroda and Indian Overseas Bank in Chennai were robbed in daylight by armed men within a month of each other of Rs 19 lakh and Rs 14 lakh on January 23 and February 21 respectively.