Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami said on Sunday that the state government will transfer the inquiry into the death of a father-son duo, alleged victims of police torture in Thoothukudi district, to the Central Bureau of Investigation, PTI reported. Palaniswami told reporters in Salem that the approval of the Madras High Court will be sought before transferring the case.
The police took Jayaraj and his son Bennix into custody on June 19 for interrogation, as they had kept their mobile accessories shop open during the coronavirus-induced lockdown in Thoothukudi. A case was filed against them for not following the curfew under lockdown. They were later sent to the Kovilpatti sub-jail.
On June 22, Bennix complained of breathing problems and was admitted to a local government-run hospital. He died around 9 pm. Jayaraj, who was also hospitalised due to an illness, died the next day. The family of the duo accused the police of assaulting them in custody. Subsequently, the High Court sought a report from the police.
On June 25, Palaniswami said that four policemen, including two sub-inspectors, had been suspended for the incident. The incident caused a furore in the state, as people came out on the streets to protest.
Dravida Munnetra Kazhgagam MP Kanimozhi called for an inquiry by the National Human Rights Commission. Kanimozhi, who represents the Thoothukudi Lok Sabha constituency, said in a letter to the commission that the incident is a collective failure of the police and a gross violation of human rights. She handed over a cheque of Rs 25 lakh to the family of the deceased.
DMK President MK Stalin said the party will support every legal endeavour to get justice in the case.
On Sunday, Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi condemned the incident. “It’s time for all of us to raise our voices against police brutality,” she tweeted. “We see it again and again, in every state, all over India. It is unacceptable, cruel and completely unlawful.”