TN police in a soup after lockup deaths: DGP directs cops not to detain suspects at night
Chennai, May 4 (IANS) The Tamil Nadu police which is under fire for the back-to-back deaths of two suspects in police custody has initiated a fresh move to safeguard its reputation.
Director-General of Police, C. Sylendra Kumar has directed the police personnel not to detain suspects at night in police custody. This is following the death of Vignesh in Chennai and Thangamani in Virudhunagar.
Vignesh was taken into custody by the police at night on April 18 along with another person Suresh for possessing machetes and half a kilogram of ganja. According to police, Vignesh suffered seizures while the police were giving him breakfast on the morning of April 19 and subsequently he died on reaching the general hospital.
There were reports that Vignesh and Thangamani, both habitual offenders, were tortured at the police station and that the former died of custodial torture. The family of Vignesh alleged that police personnel had paid them Rs 1 lakh to remain quiet but later they returned the money and are cooperating with the investigation. The Chief Minister himself had to answer in the state legislative assembly on the incident.
The Chennai police commissioner's office in a statement said that Sub Inspector Puzham Perumal of Greater Chennai Police Control room, Constable Ponraj, and Home Guard Deepak were suspended and put on the waitlist.
In a similar incident Thangamani (43) of the Mala Kuravar (SC) community was taken into custody by the Prohibition Enforcement Wing (PEW) of the Tamil Nadu police on April 26 on charges that he was in possession of illicit liquor and that he was brewing liquor illegally. According to the police, he was remanded to judicial custody but he had seizures in the sub-jail and died.
The family alleged that Thangamani was subjected to extreme torture by the police. On investigation, four personnel of the PEW including Deputy Superintendent of Police, Rajan, Inspector Nirmala, and constables Jayachandran and Jayakumar were suspended.
The CB-CID of the Tamil Nadu police has commenced investigation into the two incidents after the Chief Minister announced in the state assembly that a detailed investigation will be carried out into the two deaths.
There was a major uproar in the assembly with the opposition AIADMK and the BJP demanding an immediate inquiry and arrest of the erring police officers and sought an answer from Chief Minister Stalin who is also in charge of the home department. The legislators have also demanded a response from the DGP regarding custodial torture.
The directive of the DGP, C. Sylendra Kumar directing police not to detain suspects at night in the police station has come after the uproar by the opposition in the legislative assembly which is in session.