The CB-CID team probing the custodial killings of a father-son duo in Tamil Nadu arrested four more police personnel from the Sathankulam police station in Thoothukudi district early Thursday morning. Sub-Inspector Raghu Ganesh of the same police station had been arrested on Wednesday evening.
On July 22, three days after P Jeyaraj (62) and his son J Bennix (32) were picked up by policemen of the Sathankulam station, the two were declared dead, triggering widespread outrage.
Sathankulam station Inspector Sridhar, the senior-most officer of the unit, Sub-Inspector Balakrishnan, Head Constable Murugan and Constable Muthuraja were among the four arrested on Thursday. All of them have been remanded in judicial custody.
While Balakrishnan and Murugan were arrested from Tirunelveli on Wednesday night, Sridhar was arrested around 3.30 am from Gangaikondan check-post, one of the entry points into Tirunelveli district. The arrests were made ahead of Thursday’s hearing in the Madras High Court.
Following the arrests, the CB-CID altered two FIRs registered in connection with the case. While earlier, the deaths of Jeyaraj and his son Bennix were registered as ‘suspicious deaths’, murder charges have now been added against the five police personnel.
Sources said that while Sridhar was initially not on the list of those the CB-CID team intended to arrest, the plan was later changed considering judicial evidence linking his role to similar custodial tortures that happened at the police station in recent weeks.
For instance, Rajasingh, one of those who alleged that he was tortured at the Sathankulam police station early June by sub-inspectors Ganesh and Balakrishnan, told the Thoothukudi district judge on June 25 that it was Sridhar who directed the policemen to beat him and the others who had been picked up in a murder case.
On Thursday, during the hearing in the Madras High Court, which had taken suo motu cognisance of the custodial killings and transferred the case to the CB-CID, the state informed the court that Revathy, a woman head constable at the Sathankulam police station who had given statements confirming the torture of Jeyaraj and Bennix, was given a month-long paid leave, and that four police personnel, including two women, had been deployed at Revathy’s residence for her family’s protection.
During the court proceedings, the division bench of Justice P N Prakash and B Pugalendhi called up Revathi and spoke to her on the phone for a few minutes.
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