The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) reiterated that the father-son duo Jeyaraj and Beniks, who died due to custodial torture at the hands of the Sathankulam police, had been arrested in a false case.
59-year-old P Jayaraj and his 31-year-old son J Bennicks were picked up for questioning by the Thoothukudi police in Tamil Nadu for allegedly keeping their shop open during the lockdown imposed during the COVID-19 pandemic. They were tortured by the police while in custody, leading to their deaths.
Opposing the bail petition filed by the then Station House Officer (SHO) of Sathankulam police station, the Special Public Prosecutor appearing on behalf of the CBI said to the Madurai Bench of Madras High Court that the accused policemen had registered a false case against the deceased in order to take them into custody.
Prosecutor also said that the deceased were taken into custody in the SHO’s vehicle and that they were tortured in his presence.
Jeyaraj’s wife Selvarani’s counsel argued that the complicity of all accused including SHO Sridhar cannot be ignored as false records had been created for arresting the deceased. The counsel has filed an intervening application in the case.
The CBI has filed a second status report in a sealed cover on its investigation into the Sathankulam custodial deaths.
After hearing submissions made in the matter this evening, the Court has adjourned the matter to be taken up next on September 22. Justice V Bharathidasan, who heard the submissions, directed the Special Prosecutor to instruct the CBI officers to produce the case diary before the court on Friday.
The death of the duo had sparked protests across parts of Tamil Nadu with many taking to the streets to demand justice. The case involves allegations of police brutality, a mechanical remand by the judicial magistrate and inadequate medical treatment leading to the death of both father and son while in police custody.