Madras HC: CBI probe into firing, State’s reply sought

The Madras High Court has directed the State to respond appropriately on a public interest litigation seeking CBI probe into the police firing in which 13 people were killed during the anti-Sterlite protests in Thoothukudi on May 22.
Madras HC
Madras HC

Chennai

The vacation bench comprising Justice T Ravindran and Justice P Velmurugan before whom the PIL from advocate A P Suryaprakasam came up for hearing said, “The Secretary, Home, Government of Tamil Nadu is directed to consider the representation given by the petitioner and respond appropriately. At the request of Additional Advocate General, post the matter on May 30 for filing counter. Notice to the Director, Central Bureau of Investigation, New Delhi.”
The petitioner submitted that the Tamil Nadu police personnel have in cold blood shot and murdered 13 innocent civilians in the name of controlling unarmed citizens agitating to save their area from pollution. Also, citing the video clippings wherein two police men are seen shooting at the protestors with an intention to kill them with long range rifles, he said both the police men seen firing their rifles from atop a van were not in police uniform, which is a clear violation of the Supreme Court direction in DK Basu case.
Holding that there exists prima facie involvement of several police personnel including top level police and civil officials of the district in the brutal killing, the petitioner noted that under such circumstances there was absolutely no scope for the State officials to undertake an honest investigation to find the truth about the police excess that had transpired in the gruesome episode. This, the petitioner said makes it imperative for handing over the probe to a Central agency, which is answerable only to a special bench of the High Court.
Further submitting that a CBI probe alone can infuse confidence and assure the people that the law of the land will prevail, advocate Suryaprakasam contended that since CBI on its own cannot initiate investigation and the concurrence of the State government is necessary, he had sent representations in this regard to the State Home Secretary on May 24 and 25.
But, since the State will not entrust the investigation to CBI as the massacre was committed by the State police and is bound to bring disrepute to the office of the Home Ministry, which is held by the Chief Minister, he had no choice but to move the Court seeking CBI probe into the incident, the petitioner added.
Thoothukudi victim’s father seeks release of son’s body
The Madras High Court has admitted a plea moved by the father of a victim who was killed in the police firing in Thoothukudi, seeking to release his body for performing the last rites.
The vacation bench comprising Justice T Ravindran and Justice P Velmurugan on observing that the court must make sure that the post-mortem examination of those killed in police firing is being held as per the prescribed procedures, allowed the petitioner S Balaiah to implead himself as a party to the litigation which is pending before the Court. The bench then posted the matter for further hearing to May 30.
The petitioner had submitted that his son Shanmugam residing in Teachers’ Colony unaware of the agitation against Sterlite had gone to draw cash from an ATM nearby the Thoothukudi Collectorate when he was killed in police firing.
Stating that his son was working as an auditor after completing MBA and share trader and was not involved in the protest, the petitioner lamented that his son turned out to be a victim of police firing by being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Noting that the authorities refused to hand over the body of his son owing to the Court’s interim order, the petitioner sought for a direction to hand over the body of his son to enable him to perform the
last rites.

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