CBI takes over probe, files first FIRs in Tamil Nadu torture case
The special team from Delhi will question the five police personnel arrested for the alleged murders and take them into custody.Updated: Jul 09, 2020 00:30 IST
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has taken over the probe into the alleged torture and custodial killings of a 59-year-old man and his son at a police station in Tamil Nadu’s Thoothukudi district late last month.
P Jayaraj and J Bennicks, 31, were arrested on June 19 and allegedly tortured for keeping their shop open in violation of restrictions imposed in view of the Covid-19 pandemic. They were admitted to the Kovilpatti government hospital on June 22 after being allegedly tortured through the night in custody. Bennicks died on the same night, while Jayaraj passed away on June 23. The alleged custodial killings triggered outrage across the country.
CBI registered two cases on Tuesday based on Tamil Nadu police’s First Information Reports in the case. “CBI has taken over the investigation of these cases... and constituted a team. The team is being proceeded to the said place [Tamil Nadu] for investigation,” said CBI spokesperson RK Gaur.
The special team from Delhi will question the five police personnel arrested for the alleged murders and take them into custody. The five include an inspector. On Wednesday, five more police officials were arrested. They have been charged with wrongful confinement and disappearing of evidence, among other sections.
CBI officials said that they will first collect forensic evidence from the police station with the help of experts and then collect the case documents.
The federal agency took over the case days after Tamil Nadu chief minister K Palaniswami wrote to Union home minister Amit Shah and sought a CBI probe into the deaths amid the outrage.
A policewoman is the only eyewitness in the case. She told judicial magistrate M S Barathidasan, who investigated the incident, that the two were beaten through the night on June 19.
The Madras high court on June 30 said there are prima-facie grounds to book the policemen at the Sathankulam police station for Jayaraj and Bennicks’s murder. It made the observation after going through preliminary post-mortem reports as well as the judicial magistrate’s report. The magistrate’s report said the two were thrashed through the night with sticks.