Custodial deaths: CCTV footage counters FIR
With the State government opting for a CBI probe into the Sathankulam custodial deaths case, a CCTV footage of both the father Jayaraj and son Bennix reveals the chain of events that purportedly happened on the night of June 19. The footage counters the version of the police in the FIR.
The footage shows Jayaraj (58), talking into his mobile phone near the shop and walking across the road to the police vehicle at around 7.40 pm. In a few minutes, his son Bennix (31), after seeing his father with the policemen, cross the road to the vehicle and immediately return to his mobile phone shop. After the policemen drive away with Jayaraj to the police station, the video shows Bennix hitching a ride on a two-wheeler to follow his father to the police station.
These visuals contradict the details in the FIR registered by the police. No crowd is seen near the police vehicle when police pick up Jayaraj for inquiry and the video clip does not show any argument between them.But according to the details in the FIR, when S Murugan, head constable and Muthuraj, constable, attached to the Sathankulam police station were on duty, the duo, along with several others, crowded near the shop and refused to leave the place. While everyone left, Jayaraj and Bennix sat near their shop and refused to move away. It was claimed that they used abusive words against the policemen and threatened to kill them. Based on a petition complaint by Murugan to P Raghu Ganesh, Sub-Inspector of Police, at 9.15 pm, a case was filed against them under Sections 188, 269, 294 (b), 353 and 502 of IPC. AK Venugopal, an advocate and eyewitness to the police torture said the probe should also examine the footage of events that happened inside the police station, where two cameras were installed. He added that the government should ensure that the guilty, including the policemen, the government doctors who prepared the report, the judicial magistrate and prison authorities should be punished.
Footage obtained from the adjoining shop’s CCTV camera reveals that several details recorded in the FIR do not match the actual version of events on the night of June 19
- Incident took place at 9.15 pm
- Father and son sat in front of the shop and refused to leave, used obscene language at the cops
- Father-son “rolled on the ground” causing internal injuries to themselves
- Timestamp shows cops coming to shop at 7.40pm
- Jayaraj, who is seen standing outside the shop, walks across the road as police in a vehicle summon him No argument or protest is seen
- After cops take Jayaraj, Bennix gets onto the bike behind his friend and is seen following the vehicle. No altercation is recorded