A sub-inspector who shot dead a man at a police station in Ramanathapuram district of Tamil Nadu on Tuesday has been placed under suspension. An FIR has been filed against the officer.
A day after the incident, Ramanathapuram district collector K Nandakumar told The Indian Express that a case has been registered for custodial death and a preliminary inquiry report prepared by the Superindentent of police has been submitted before the Chief Judicial Magistrate for further probe. “As per the Supreme Court directions, we are taking all possible steps to probe the killing and the officer who shot Syed Mohammed is already under suspension,” he said.
Mohammed was taken to SP Pattinam police station on a complaint filed by a local shop owner about a minor scuffle. During interrogation, he was allegedly shot dead by sub-inspector Kalidoss, who later got himself admitted in a hospital claiming he fired after Mohammed tried to attack him with a knife during interrogation.
Police sources also had another version of the incident. A senior officer said Mohammed was severely tortured by Kalidoss after he was taken into custody on a complaint by local mechanic Aruldoss. The mechanic had alleged that Mohammed had attempted to stab him. The police registered an FIR under IPC Section 307.
“When Kalidoss threatened him with his service pistol, Mohammed grabbed the collar of the officer in anger and Kalidoss immediately fired two rounds on his chest killing Mohammed on the spot,” said the officer.
Reacting to this version, collector Nandakumar said the actual reason would be revealed only after a magisterial inquiry. However, he confirmed that the initial report submitted by the SP states that Mohammed was shot after he tried to stab the officer during questioning.
M H Jawahirullah, local MLA and leader of the Manithaneya Makkal Katchi (MMK) called it a cold blooded murder.
However, such incidents are not new to Tamil Nadu that witnessed a 90 per cent increase in custodial deaths last year. In Tamil Nadu, the number of deaths in police custody was 15 in 2013, while it was only seven in 2012.
In January 2014, a 16-year-old boy who was picked up by the Neelaankari police in Chennai city was also shot by the inspector during interrogation. The boy, who suffered serious injuries, had to undergo a surgery after the bullet had damaged his vocal chords. “He was picked up for an inquiry related to a theft case at a temple. During the interrogation, the revolver used to threaten him went off accidentally,” said an officer who probed the incident.