‘Shocked’ Rajinikanth demands punishment in Tamil Nadu custodial death case
P Jayaraj (59) and his son J Bennicks (31) were arrested on June 19 for keeping their shop in Sathankulam town open during Covid-19 lockdown. They died after reportedly being tortured in police custody.Updated: Jul 01, 2020 13:54 IST
Actor Rajinikanth has issued a strong statement on the custodial deaths in Tamil Nadu, and demanded strict punishment for those involved in it.
The case is about the death of father-son duo in custody in Tuticorin district.
Expressing shock at the incident, Rajinikanth condemned the behaviour of cops. “Everyone related to the incident who deserves punishment should get it,” he said in the statement posted in Tamil on Twitter.
P Jayaraj (59) and his son J Bennicks (31) were arrested on June 19 and lodged in Kovilpatti sub-jail for keeping their mobile phone shop in the main market of Sathankulam town open during a curfew imposed during coronavirus lockdown.
Jayaraju and Benicks were allegedly tortured during the police custody after which they were admitted to the Kovilpatti government hospital on June 22. While the son died on the same night, the father breathed his last on the morning of June 23.
Judicial magistrate M S Barathidasan, who investigated the incident, submitted a four-page inquiry report which includes the testimony of a policewoman, the only eyewitness on record. The policewoman has said in the testimony that both Jayaraj and Bennicks were beaten through the night on June 19.
“There were blood stains on the lathis and a table,” she said and asked the magistrate to obtain them immediately.
The report also claimed that camera footage from that night was unavailable because the CCTV camera inside the police station was set on auto-delete.
Barathidasan said in the report that the police staff at the station did not cooperate in the investigation. In fact, it further mentioned, that Additional Deputy Superintendent of Police D Kumar “flexed his body to show his physical strength” before the magistrate.
Kumar, Deputy superintendent of police C Prathapan and constable Maharajan are facing contempt case based on Barathidasan’s complaint. Three other policemen of the station - one inspector and two sub inspectors - were suspended from duty last week.
The incident has led to political battle in Tamil Nadu with Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) chief MK Stalin accusing chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami of concealing the brutal murders at the police station.