Following much uproar, Inspector Sridhar, Sub-Inspector Balakrishnan and constables Murugan were arrested by CB-CID under IPC 302 (murder) in connection with the custodial deaths of Jeyaraj and Beniks in the wee hours on Thursday. The CB-CID which took over the case on 1 July arrested Sub-Inspector Raghuganesh late at night.
Constable Muthuraj has been held by the police but his name has not been added to the first information report (FIR) yet.
"“We are investigating the role of other police officials in connection with the case as well. As of now, four cops have been accused in the case. This is the first leg of investigation and we are expecting to reveal more truths soon.”" - Shankar, Inspector-General
'We are investigating the role of other police officials in connection with the case. As of now, four cops have been accused in the case. This is the first leg of investigation and we are expecting to reveal more truths soon.': Shankar, Inspector-General#JeyarajandBeniks pic.twitter.com/nBHT4N8aC8— Smitha T K (@smitha_tk) July 2, 2020
Twelve special teams have been formed to arrest the other police officials of Sathankulam, who are accused in the case as well.
People burst crackers to celebrate the arrest of sub inspector Raghuganesh on Wednesday night in connection with the #custodialdeath of #JeyarajandBeniks #ThoothukudiCustodialDeaths @TheQuint pic.twitter.com/5gHVJHzL55— Smitha T K (@smitha_tk) July 2, 2020
The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court on Tuesday, 30 June, noted that injuries found on the bodies of the deceased and the Magistrate's report could serve as prima facie evidence to file murder charges against the Sathankulam police.
According to reports, the CB-CID has altered the original FIR against the accused police officers to reflect murder charges (IPC Section 302).
The custodial death of the father and son in Tamil Nadu’s Sathankulam town in Thoothukudi district has sparked massive outrage raising questions on police brutality as well as the conduct of Sathankulam Judicial Magistrate B Saravanan.
The father and son were allegedly brutally tortured by the police officials in custody that led to their death.
Following an order from the state government, the case was transferred to the Central Bureau of Investigation.
The court had asked the Tirunelveli Inspector General if he could take up the case until it is handed over to CBI, insisting that any delay in investigation could lead to the tampering of evidence.
A key witness, a head constable from Sathankulam police station, had testified to the brutal attack and the role of the police. Fearing that she was at risk and could be intimidated by senior police officials, the court has provided her security.
So far, over 17 police officers from the Sathankulam station have been transferred. Sub-inspectors Balakrishnan and Raguganesh, who were accused of assaulting the father and son in police custody, were suspended. Inspector Sridhar who was put on a waitlist was also subsequently suspended.
Thoothukudi Superintendent of Police (SP) Arun Balagopalan was transferred and S Jeyakumar, who was SP of Villupuram district was appointed in his place.
On Wednesday morning, the state government faced flak for allotting new postings for Thoothukudi Assistant Superintendent of Police D Kumar and Deputy Superintendent of Police C Prathaban, just 24 hours after the Kovilpatti Magistrate had told the court, that they had threatened him during the inquiry.
The court on Monday had initiated suo moto criminal contempt proceedings against the two police officers and a constable for harassing the magistrate and not giving him records. Constable Maharajan, who had made a derogatory remark against the Magistrate, was suspended.
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