Admitted at the hospital on the day he was promoted as Deputy Superintendent of Police, the officer never returned to duty and died as an Inspector. Even the cause of his death seems to have become a controversy as the department remains unsure of whether he died of COVID or not. A senior official said that the swab tests of Purushothaman showed he was COVID negative. “However, the CT scan revealed that his lungs had been severely affected, which is an indication that he could have contracted the virus. However, since the swab tests showed that he was COVID negative, he has become ineligible for the compensation,” said the official.
But, when Purushothaman died on September 27, it was claimed that he had tested positive on September 15 and was admitted at Kings Institute in Guindy on September 17.
Colleagues pointed out that the Inspector was ill for 10 days prior to getting admitted at the hospital and his chest x-rays showed chest congestion, indicating COVID-19. A few subordinates in the traffic wing alleged that Purushothaman was not granted leave though he was ill.
“Only after his condition worsened, he was allowed to get admitted in the hospital. Maybe, if he had been allowed to take a swab test earlier the results might have come positive,” said a traffic constable on condition of anonymity. He said that it is the plight of all traffic enforcement inspectors since they cannot take leave as they wish compared to other officers.
Meanwhile, top officials claimed that a proposal has been sent to the government to consider his family for the compensation. In an attempt to make up for the compensation in case the government declines to do so, senior officials have allegedly instructed traffic subordinates in the entire Chennai South and East to make a donation for the family. “Each traffic constable should donate at least Rs 1,000 and up to Rs 2,000, whereas the minimum sum donated by the sub-inspector level officials is upto Rs 5,000. The inspectors should pay Rs 10,000,” said a Constable. His only reservation is that they should take similar efforts for personnel in the lower rung of the hierarchy. However, when contacted, Joint Commissioner S Lakshmi said that there was no pressure on the police personnel to donate and added that they were contributing as per their wish.