Chennai: The state has ordered an inquiry by the Tiruvannamalai judicial magistrate II into the alleged custodial death of a 48-year-old former hooch seller Thangamani (48) of Thattarai Elayankanni village in Thandarampattu taluk.
Chief Minister MK Stalin on Friday assured the Assembly that a detailed report on the alleged custodial death would be tabled soon. “The post mortem of Thangamani, who stored poisonous illicit liquor in his house, was carried out in the presence of a magistrate and once the report is released, a detailed investigation will be carried out and the report will be tabled in the Assembly,” said Stalin, replying to the urgent calling attention motion introduced by Leader of Opposition Edappadi K Palaniswami.
While introducing the motion, Palaniswami said that Thangamani, from Thattranai village in Tiruvannamalai district, was tortured by police in the prison and according to his family members policemen had demanded money to free Thangamani. Family members, who demanded a thorough investigation, refused to accept the body of Thangamani and are still protesting.
Stalin replied that Thangamani, who was selling arrack, was arrested and remanded on April 26. The next day, he suffered a bout of epilepsy fit in the prison and was taken to Tiruvannamalai GMCH around 7.40 pm but he died around 8.40 pm. His body is still in the hospital.
Meanwhile, family members, who petitioned the Collector and SP, refused to accept Thangamani’s body as they claimed that the post-mortem was conducted without their permission. “We refused to sign the post mortem form. We went to the hospital only to have a last look at our father’s face,” said Thangamani’s son Dinakaran. The body is in the mortuary of Tiruvannamalai GMCH.
Speaking to DT Next, Dinakaran said, “My father was killed in the assault at the sub jail as he refused to pay the money demanded by the prohibition wing personnel. They demanded Rs 2 lakh and we said we did not have that much money.”
What irked locals is that the village was blacklisted years ago on charges of illicit arrack distillation and the tag still sticks on. “The 30 odd families took an oath to desist from the practice in the presence of police in January this year,” Dinakaran added.
In her petition presented to Tiruvannamalai Collector B Murugesh and SP Pavan Kumar, Thangamani’s wife Malar (43) alleged that prohibition police were in the practice of ordering locals to sell hooch and pay ‘commission’ to them. Dinakaran said, “most of the families in Thattarai have paid the police as otherwise they are threatened with detention under the Bootleggers Act.”
Vellore range DIG Anne Vijaya said, “It was not a custodial death as Thangamani died in the hospital while undergoing treatment.”