TN custodial deaths case

The Madras High Court ordered the Tuticorin Collector to take over the Sattankulam police station over allegations that the police officials were not cooperating in the judicial inquiry into the alleged custodial deaths of P Jayaraj and J Bennicks.

The court has also initiated criminal contempt proceedings against three police officers - the additional superintendent of police, a deputy superintendent of police and a constable – after the judicial magistrate deputed to enquire into the deaths sent a mail stating that the police were not cooperating. The three cops reportedly refused to hand over records to the magistrate and filmed him while he was at the station.

Tuticorin District Collector Sandeep Nanduri has been directed to depute revenue officials at the station to facilitate the magistraterial probe.

Jayaraj, 60 and his son Bennicks, 31, were arrested on June 19 for allegedly violating lockdown norms by keeping their mobile accessories shop in the main bazaar open beyond the regulated hours.

In her report to the National Human Rights Commission, Tuticorin MP Kanimozhi Karunanidhi gave details of the torture the father-son due was allegedly subjected to while in custody. She informed the rights panel that they were sexually abused. Cops had allegedly inserted sticks into their rectum which left them bleeding for days before they succumbed to injuries on June 23.

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