Sathankulam custodial deaths: CBI files charge sheet against 9 cops for murder, destruction of evidence

The CBI has charge-sheeted nine Tamil Nadu policemen for murder, conspiracy and other offences in the custodial death case of the father-son duo who were arrested on a "fake" charge of violating the lockdown and tortured in Sathankulam police station in June this year, officials said Saturday.
Sathankulam custodial deaths: CBI files charge sheet against 9 cops for murder, destruction of evidence

Chennai

A CBI spokesperson R.K. Gaur said in Delhi that the agency filed the chargesheet against 9 then police officials namely -- S. Sridhar, then Inspector and SHO, K. Balakrishnan, then SI, P. Raghuganesh, then SI, AS. Murugan, then HC, A. Samadurai, then HC, AM. Muthuraja, then Constable, S. Chelladurai, then Constable, X. Thomas Francis, then Constable and S. Veilumuthu, then Constable -- all of Sathankulam Police Station in Tamil Nadu. 
He said that the agency filed the chargesheet in a Madurai court under several sections of the Indian Penal Code. 
According to the CBI official one accused, then a Sub Inspector, died during investigation. 
The CBI registered two cases on July 7 related to the allegations of custodial death of the father-son duo of traders in Tamil Nadu's Kovilpatti on the request of the Tamil Nadu government and further notification by the Centre. 
After registering the case, a CBI team camped continuously at Madurai and worked on the cases even through the Covid-19 pandemic. 
A CBI official linked to the probe said that nine members of the CBI team in Madurai investigating the case also tested positive for Covid-19. 
"The CBI investigation revealed that the father-son duo were arrested in the evening of June 19 and allegedly tortured at the Sathankulam Police Station by the accused in the evening as well as in the intervening night, consequent to which both of them succumbed to the injuries and died in the intervening night of June 22-23," Gaur said. 
Another CBI official said that investigation by the agency established that to cover up their deed the police personnel not only destroyed the evidence of torture but also registered a false case against the father-son of not closing their mobile shop after the permitted time. 
When asked what was the motive behind the incident, the officials said the probe is being kept open.
"Further investigation is continuing to look into the role of other persons in the case," 
CBI Spokesperson RK Gaur said.
Meanwhile, the Judicial Magistrate probing the incident had told the Madras High Court that the policemen thrashed the deceased father-son the whole night in the police station. "Lathis were used" for allegedly assaulting them and a table carrying bloodstains bears testimony to the grisly crime.
The findings were based on a statement of a woman police personnel attached to the police station where the alleged crime took place.
After the alleged torture, Jeyaraj and Benniks were sent to sub-jail under remand at around 2.30 AM on June 20 where they were kept as prisoner number 3636 and 3635 respectively.
In the morning at around 7.45 am, Benniks complained of a wheezing problem and was taken to Kovilpatti government hospital in an autorickshaw. The doctors declared at 9 AM that he could not survive, the FIR had alleged.
Two days later at around 10.20 PM on June 22, Jeyaraj complained of fever and was taken to the government hospital.
In the morning at around 5.40 AM the next day, doctors told the authorities that treatment failed and Jeyaraj too had died, it said.
(With inputs from PTI)

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