Father-son duo thrashed all night by Sathankulam police personnel, says woman cop

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Personnel at the Sathankulam police station here thrashed a deceased father-son duo the whole night there, with lathis used for allegedly assaulting them and a table carrying bloodstains, a woman head constable attached to the station has told a judicial probe.

Mentioning Head Constable Revathy’s statement in a four-page report to the Madras High Court Madurai Bench, the Judicial Magistrate probing the deaths said she feared receiving a threat if she revealed the facts.

The Madras High Court, which has taken up the matter of the death of the duo– P Jeyaraj and Bennicks, alleged victims of police torture, had on Tuesday transferred the probe to the CB-CID under DSP Anil Kumar. It had also ordered protection for Revathy and her family.

In her statement, Revathy told the JM that the two persons were “beaten up the entire night by police personnnel there (Sathankulam PS) using lathis.” “..due to this there were bloodstains on the lathis and a table and she said they (stains) should be collected immediately as they (policemen) could try to erase them,” the report said.

The JM alleged non-cooperation by the personnel at the police station, including when he sought handing over of the lathis and said the cops heeded to his demand only after being ‘compelled’. One of them even fled the place by scaling a wall when sought for his lathi.

He further submitted that Revathy did not sign on her statement immediately and did so after a long time upon being assured of her safety. Her statement was “recorded carefully”, even as she was apprehensive of receiving threat if she revealed the truth.

The JM said that throughout his stay at the station on June 28, the police did not cooperate and one of them displayed “macho and intimidating body language”, even as a constable made disparaging remarks against him later.

Incidentally, three personnel, ASP D Kumar, DSP C Prathapan and the constable Maharajan had on Tuesday appeared before the High Court on being summoned by it over the matter. The constable told the court he was “overstressed” and had made the remark against the Judicial Magistrate by mistake.

The JM further stated that the settings of the CCTV hard disk in the police station, despite having sufficient space of one terrabyte, were configured in a way that the day’s footage will be “automatically deleted.”

The High Court had earlier said that from the report filed by the Judicial Magistrate, it was able to discern that the Sathankulam police were taking advantage of the fact the investigation of the case was in limbo and were attempting to cause the disappearance of evidence.

They were emboldened enough to even intimidate the JM during the investigation in the station, Justices P N Prakash and B Pugalendhi had noted.

The original statement of the Revathy should also be given to the DSP Anil Kumar. Jayaraj and his son Bennicks, arrested for ‘violating’ lockdown norms over business hours of their cellphone shop, died at a hospital in Kovilpatti on June 23, with the relatives alleging that they were severely thrashed at the Sathankulam police station by the personnel earlier.

The incident had triggered a nationwide furore, leading to the suspension of five policemen, including an inspector and two Sub-Inspectors.

The Superintendent of Police had been shunted out of Tuticorin and put on compulsory wait.

All the personnel posted at Sathankulam police station earlier have been transferred out. The probe into the case has been since transferred to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) by the Tamil Nadu government, though the Court transferred the case to the CB- CID till CBI took over, fearin evidence may disappear.

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