The Tamil Nadu Police on Monday registered a first information report against suspended Assistant Superintendent of Police Balveer Singh on charges of custodial torture, The Hindu reported.
Nineteen persons, including two minors, have so far accused Singh of torturing them during custody in Ambasamudram, Vikramasingapuram, Kallidaikurichi and Pappakudi police stations, according to The New Indian Express.
Singh has been accused of breaking their teeth and crushing the testicles of at least two persons after they were called for interrogation on the charge of attempt to murder at the Ambasamudram police division in the Tirunelveli district.
One of the persons, identified as Surya, had retracted his statement on March 29. He had initially alleged that Singh pulled out his teeth for damaging three CCTV cameras while he was drunk but later claimed that he fell down and broke his tooth. His family alleges that he has been missing.
The allegations had surfaced in March after a lawyer shared the ordeal of the victims on social media, along with their statements, according to The Indian Express.
Following this, Singh, a 2020-batch IPS officer from Tonk in Rajasthan, was initially shifted to vacancy reserve on March 27. Two days later, Chief Minister MK Stalin told the state Assembly that he has ordered Singh to be immediately suspended.
On Monday, Tirunelveli district Superintendent of Police N Silambarasan said that Singh has been booked under Sections 506 (1) (Criminal intimidation), 324 (voluntarily hurting by using dangerous weapon) and 326 (voluntarily causing grievous hurt by using dangerous weapon) of the Indian Penal Code, according to The Hindu.
Meanwhile, 10 victims in the case, including two minors, met Principal Secretary of Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Department P Amudha, who has been appointed by the Tamil Nadu government to investigate the allegations, reported The New Indian Express.
“Singh rubbed my teeth and gums with stone,” a minor victim told the newspaper. “I was made to sit with my innerwear at the Ambasamudram police station. I explained to Amudha what happened to me during police custody…She asked me if I wanted compensation. I told her that I want Singh’s dismissal.”
Poothapandi Thevar, the grandfather of Surya, also appeared before Amudha and complained that his grandson was missing.
“A senior police officer damaged his teeth and uprooted them,” Thevar said, according to The Hindu. “He fears for his life. The women in our family have admitted him to a hospital for treatment. I did not see him since March 28. I am appearing before the inquiry commission on his behalf to record my statement.”
Thevar alleged that he was threatened by the police and few of his relatives that he should not record his statement on behalf of Surya.
Henry Tiphagne, the executive director of the Human rights organisation People’s Watch, demanded Singh’s arrest and that sections under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes Act and Juvenile Justice Act should be added to the FIR, according to The New Indian Express.