A policeman in Tamil Nadu, accused in the custodial deaths of a father and son in Tuticorin district in June, died of COVID-19 on Monday.
Pauldurai, 56, was a special sub-inspector and one of the 10 policemen arrested in connection with death of traders Jeyaraj and his son at Sathankulam after alleged police torture. The incident sparked huge outrage and a political row. Tuticorin had also witnessed a massive protest over their deaths.
While Pauldurai is accused of thrashing the two men, two constables are accused of holding the victims while he thrashed them.
Pauldurai, who died at a government hospital in Madurai, had diabetes, one of the co-morbidities leading to COVID-19 deaths, authorities said. The policeman's family, however, alleged that he was not treated well.
The cop, who was jailed at the central prison in Madurai, was hosptialised after he tested positive for coronavirus last month. His wife had appealed to senior police officers for permission to shift him to Kanyakumari for better treatment.
Jeyaraj, 59, and his son Beniks, 31, were arrested on June 19 for keeping their mobile phone shop open 15 minutes beyond permitted hours. The police claimed the two had fought, showered verbal abuses and rolled around on the street while resisting arrest.
The two men were allegedly subjected to brutal torture in police custody. Their family alleges they had severe internal and external wounds, including rectal bleeding.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is now probing the deaths of Jeyaraj and Beniks after the Tamil Nadu government handed over the probe to the premier agency.