Memorandum to Chief Justice of High Court of Madras on Custodial Death in Thiruthuraipoondi

Memorandum sent on behalf of Federation for People’s Rights (FPR) on 11.01.2014 to Chief Justice of High Court of Madras  Mr. Justice Rajesh Kumar Agrawal and Port Folio Judge Mr.  Justice S. Nagamuthu reg custodial death in Thiruthuraipoondi:

We on behalf of the ‘Fact Finding Committee’ constituted to find the facts about the custodial death in the Thiruthuraipoondi Police Station and led by the well known Human Rights Activists and Writer Prof. A. Marx to enquire the custodial submit this memorandum for your kind consideration and suitable action to uphold Law and Justice.

One Sundar (Age 34) s/o Murugayan residing at Nangali village of Keerakalur Panchayat of Thiruvarur District was forcibly picked up by the Thiruthuraipoondi Police on 23rd Dec 2013 at about 12 am from his residence. The Police team which included Mr. Rajagopal, Inspector of Police, Mr. Ilangovan, Special Sub-Inspector of Police, Head Constables Mr. Natarajan, Mr. Ramesh and a driver came in a TATA Sumo vehicle, thrashed him and took into their custody. Sundar’s father Murugayan (75), mother Rasammal (65) and his younger sister Praba (24) were in the house at that time. The neighbours were seen the Police taking Sundar into their custody and they are also the eye witnesses of the said occurrence. Sundar was a call driver and belongs to a very poor family and he is the only bread winner of the family. It seems that he was taken into the custody to enquire about a Tractor theft case. We want to bring to your kind notice that the Tractor theft occurred before six months and the said Sundar was not named as accused in the FIR.

In the next day (24th Dec 2013) early morning at about 6 am, the family members came to know that Sundar was beaten to death in the Police custody and the body was kept in the Government General Hospital at Thiruvarur. The annoyed villagers and the family members staged a road block protest in the Mannarkudi – Thiruthuraipoondi road demanding action against the Police personals responsible for Sundar’s death. Thiruthuraipoondi RDO Mr. Subbu and Thiruvarur District SP Mr. Kaliraj Maheskumar assured the protesters in writing that a proper Judicial Enquiry would be conducted and the autopsy will be conducted by a panel of doctors which would be video graphed. They also promised a departmental enquiry against the Police personals and adequate compensation to the victim’s family as per the Rules. A FIR was filed vide no. 737/13 u/s 174 Cr.P.C. in the file of Thiruthuraipoondi Police Station. Subsequently, the above said Police personals responsible for the custodial death were suspended from service.

The Judicial Magistrate of Thiruthuraipoondi Mr. S.S. Siva was assigned with the task of enquiring the said custodial death case under Section 176 (1)(A) of Cr.P.C. But the learned Judicial Magistrate did not conduct the enquiry in a proper way. Instead of recording first the statements of the kith and kin and neighbours of the house of the deceased, he went to the police station first and started to enquire the Police personals and then he went to the Government Hospital. The family members and neighbours of the deceased were the key witnesses in the custodial death case.

We categorically say that the Magistrate in collusion with the police personals responsible for the custody death, deliberately delayed enquiring and recording the statements of family members giving room to the errant Police personals to pressurise them for a compromise and settlement of the case. We also point out that after eight days of the occurrence i.e on 02.01.2014 the Magistrate issued summons to the victim’s family members to appear before him to depose on 06.01.2014. We hear that the Magistrate’s purposeful delay enabled the Police personals to settle the case out of the Court by offering Rs. 5 Lakh to the victim’s family.

We, the concerned citizen and activists are very much shocked to hear this kind of approach of a responsible Judicial officer. By acting against the established procedures of law he had betrayed the victim’s family. He had forgotten the ultimate fact that the judiciary is the last hope of the citizens.

Sir, we in the public interest humbly request your authority to institute an enquiry on this and take stringent action against the Thiruthuraipoondi Judicial Magistrate Mr. S.S. Siva and also pass necessary order to transfer the investigation of the said custodial death case to CBI and render Justice to the victim’s family.

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