The Crime Branch of the Tamil Nadu Crime Investigation Department has booked three policemen for their alleged involvement in the death of a man in custody in Chennai, Chief Minister MK Stalin told the state Assembly on Friday, The News Minute reported.
Sub Inspector Pugalum Perumal, Head Constable Pavanraj and Home Guard Deepak of Chennai’s GS Secretariat Colony police station have been booked. They are likely to be arrested soon, according to NDTV.
The deceased man, Vignesh, and his friend Suresh were held in Chennai’s Kellys area on April 18 for allegedly possessing drugs. The police claimed that the next morning, Vignesh started vomiting and had a seizure after having breakfast. He was taken to a hospital, but doctors pronounced him dead on arrival, they said.
However, CCTV camera footage shared by social media users showed a man, purportedly Vignesh, being chased by two policemen. The police office can be seen catching hold of him and then beating him up. The footage was from April 19.
On April 20, Vignesh’s brother Vinod said that he had seen his body and alleged that there were injuries on his face and arms due to custodial torture. The family had also claimed that they were not allowed to see his body after the autopsy.
On April 30, Vinod claimed that the Chennai Police had offered him Rs 1 lakh to remain silent about the matter.
The post-mortem report showed that Vignesh had 13 injuries, including injuries on his face, and it confirmed that he received the wounds prior to his death, The News Minute reported.
The case, earlier registered under sections of suspected death, was modified to a murder case after the post-mortem report was received, Stalin said in the Assembly on Friday, according to NDTV.
“We will also invoke the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act,” an unidentified police official told the news channel.
The police’s claims
The police had alleged that they found 50 grams of cannabis, liquor bottles and a knife from Vignesh and Suresh during a routine checkup. They alleged that the two men were drunk and tried to attack police officials when questioned.
They were then taken to the Secretariat Colony Police Station and a case was registered against them, the police said.
After Vignesh’s death, a case of a suspicious death was registered in the matter and a police sub-inspector, a constable and a home guard were suspended.