The Central Bureau of Investigation has started a probe into the custodial deaths of traders Jeyaraj and his son at Sathankulam in Tamil Nadu's Tuticorin district. The officials today enquired about the family and visited the government hospital where the men had died while in judicial custody.
On Saturday, the CBI received all files, documents and depositions from the state CBCID police who have been investigating the case so far.
The CBCID has arrested 10 policemen including an inspector and two sub-inspectors. The agency has incorporated murder charges in the FIR.
The state government transferred the SP and put him on wait. All police personnel attached to Sathankulam police station have been transferred along with a DSP and ASP.
The deaths triggered national outrage amid allegations of police torture before they were sent to jail. The men were arrested for allegedly keeping their mobile phone shop open beyond 8 pm on June 19.
In their complaint, the family alleged the men were tortured the whole night. The son, Beniks, who complained of chest pain at Kovilpatti sub jail on June 22 died in hospital the same night. The father who complained of severe fever died in the hospital the next day.
The Tuticorin police had only filed a case of suspicious death. The Chief Minister who heads the police force and the state DGP have not responded to torture allegations by the police.
The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court that took up the case on its own directed the CBCID to start investigation after going through the post-mortem report. The court had said prima facie there was ground for murder charges against the police.
The magistrate who probed the case reported that a crucial CCTV footage at the police station had been deleted as the system was programmed to auto delete every day. The police personnel there had passed disparaging remarks, intimidated him and the court staff besides being non-cooperative and refusing to provide documents.
However, Revathy, a head constable, testified about the attack on the men the whole night and even cited blood stains on the table and lathis.
The CCTV footage from the camera outside the shop of Jeyaraj and Beniks doesn't show any argument or the men rolling over on the ground at least in camera view, sustaining internal injuries as mentioned in the FIR.
Rights activists are demanding a probe into the role of the magistrate who approved remand of the men for a simple violation reportedly even without meeting the accused and the doctor who certified them to be fit for arrest.