The Madurai bench of the Madras High Court on Tuesday ordered transfer of investigation into the custodial deaths of the Sathankulam father-son duo, to the Tirunelveli CB-CID, expressing fear that evidence could disappear by the time CBI took over the probe.
“If we don’t act now, it will become too late. The Centre should give consent for the CBI investigation. Besides, the CBI does not have an office in Thoothukudi and even if an investigation officer is appointed by the CBI, it would take time for him to acclimatise to the local environment,” the bench said. Kumar should take charge forthwith and proceed without waiting for any formal order from the DGP in Chennai. The investigation would be monitored by the SP, CB-CID, Tirunelveli, the court said.
As per the court directive, Kovilpatti Judicial Magistrate MS Bharathidasan submitted the preliminary post mortem reports before a division bench of Justices PN Prakash and B Pugalendhi, but the report was observed as indubitably disconcerting. After reviewing the report, the bench discerned that the police took advantage of the fact that the investigation was in limbo and attempted to destroy evidence. Moreover, the Sathankulam police had even intimidated the judicial officer. The bench observed that the Thoothukudi Collector should immediately ensure the safety of Revathy and her family.
The report stated that the Judicial Magistrate recorded a statement by Revathy, who spilled the beans on the police action on the fateful night of June 19. The report disclosed concerted efforts of Thoothukudi Additional Superintendent of Police D Kumar, Sathankulam, Deputy SP C Prathapan and Maharajan, constable attached to Sathankulam station, to scuttle the enquiry. The three cops also appeared before the court on Tuesday after the court had summoned them for allegedly trying to prevent the enquiry by the Judicial Magistrate.