Custody Death in Nagore Police Station: Expedite the Judicial Enquiry and Submit the Report Immediately!

Memorandum sent today (20.01.2014) on behalf of Federation for People’s Rights (FPR), Puducherry to the District and Sessions Judge and Judicial Magistrate, Nagapattinam:

On behalf of the ‘Independent Fact Finding Committee’ we are submitting this memorandum for your kind perusal and necessary action to uphold the Law and Justice.

On 31.12.2013 at about 7 pm, the Nagore Police Inspector Mr. Rajendiran and his team were controlling the traffic in the Nagore – Nagapattinam road near Vanjore check-post. A quarrel developed between the Police Inspector and one Suresh (aged 39), an auto driver residing at Keezhatheru of Palpannaicheri village, regarding the parking of an auto near the cycle shop. Suresh was sitting in a Cycle Mart owned by one Rajendra Prasath near the Vanjore check post. Immediately, the said Police Inspector and his team beaten him severely near the cycle shop itself and took him in to their custody and continued beating him in front of the Vanjore check post. The public and the shop owners around that vicinity are witnessing the incident but nobody is bold enough to intervene and stop the Police excess. After some time, the said Police officer took him to the Nagore Police Station and continued beating. The auto driver is also booked in a case under sections 253, 353 and 506(ii) of IPC.

Due the brutal attack of the Police, Suresh was severely injured and he was taken to the Govt. General Hospital at Nagapattinam in the midnight of 31.12.2103 – 01.01.2014. There the Doctors in the duty treated him but he died in vain within some time. Next day morning (01.01.2014), the family of the deceased was informed about the death and the relatives of the victim, auto drivers and the people of Palpannaicheri village blocked the traffic in the Nagore – Nagapattinam road demanding action against the Police personnel responsible for the custodial death.

The RDO and SP of Nagapattinam assured the agitators that a Judicial Enquiry will be conducted soon. Also we learn that they also assured that a suitable compensation will be paid to the deceased auto driver’s family and a job for the victim’s wife. Following this the Police Inspector of Nagore Police Station Mr. Rajendran and Special Sub-Inspector of Police Mr. Jayaraman of Valivalam Police Station were suspended from service. Subsequently, the referred FIR was altered and the enquiry was assigned to the Judicial Magistrate of Nagappattinam as per the Section 176 (1)(A) of Cr.P.C. We understand that Ms. Latha, Judicial Magistrate of Nagapattinam is conducting the enquiry.

In this context, we, a group of Human Rights Activists led by Prof. A. Marx, a well known Writer and Activist visited Nagapattinam on 17.01.2014 and enquired the victim’s family, Trade Union leaders and people in and around the Vanjore check post. We also met the Nagappattinam District SP Mr. Sibi Chakravarthi who told us that the matter was pending enquiry with the Judicial Magistrate.

In this background we are calling your kind attention on the following aspects and request necessary action to enable proper Justice to the victim’s family.

In our enquiry it reveals that the said learned Magistrate has not completed the enquiry till date and she has not even enquired and recorded the statements of the victim’s family and people in the area around Vanjore check post where the deceased was thrashed by the Police. The above said Rajendra Parasath (52) s/o S.V. Ramamirutham who is the owner of the ‘Prasanth Cycle Mart’ near the check post is one of the eye-witness for the whole episode. The deceased was taken in to the Police custody from his Cycle Mart and he saw the deceased alive in the Nagore Police Station on 31st December night at about 8 pm. We are worried to find that the learned Magistrate has not yet enquired him and recorded his statement. Some other important persons having knowledge of the incident were also not enquired till this date.

Such lethargic approach of the learned Magistrate will definitely give room to the Police to compromise and settle the case. We also learnt that a compromise meeting was held in the Nagapattinam DSP office in which the DSP Mr. Venkatraman had promised to offer Rs. 3 lakh to the victim’s family and requested the leaders of the Political Parties and Trade Unions who attended the meeting not to press for any action against the police and accept it as a natural death. The DSP also pressurised them for an amicable settlement saying that the Police Inspector Mr. Rajendran is expecting a promotion and any case against him will affect his chance.

We also want to bring to your kind notice about a similar incident in Thiruthuraipoondi Police Station in which a custodial death case was settled because of the purposeful delay of the Judicial Magistrate enquiry. One Sundar (aged 34) of Nangali Village of Keerakalur Panchayat in Thiruvarur District was beaten to death by the Thiruthuraipoondi Police personals and the enquiry was assigned to the Thiruthuraipoondi Judicial Magisrate Mr. S.S. Siva. The learned Magistrate instead of enquiring and recording the statements of the victim’s family and eye-witnesses, began his enquiry with the Police officers and hospital authorities and thus enabled the errant Police personals to settle the case by giving enough time for a compromise. We understand that the case was now settled by offering Rs. 5 lakh to the victim’s family. The accused police personals had thus escaped from the clutches of law. We had complained about this to the Honourable Chief Justice of High Court of Madras and Port folio Judge for Thiruvarur District seeking action against the said Judicial Magistrate.

So, we humbly request your good self to expedite the Judicial Enquiry and conduct an in depth enquiry on the said incident and record the statements of the eye-witnesses and other related witnesses immediately. The delay will surely give room to the police personals involved to arrive at a settlement. As the Chief Minister of Tamilnadu had said the custodial death is a ‘travesty of Justice’ and will defeat the very purpose of the ‘Right to Life’ guaranteed to the citizens in the Indian Constitution.

G. SUGUMARAN, Secretary. Federation for People’s Rights (FPR), Puducherry. 

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