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CBI chargesheet confirms brutal torture on Jeyaraj and Bennicks

The CBI looked into material evidence from the Santhakulam PS and confirmed the use of wooden lathis by police officers.

Sabrangindia 28 Oct 2020

Jeyaraj and Bennicks

The chargesheet filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation in the custodial death case of a father son duo- RP Jeyaraj and J Bennicks have revealed gory details of the 7 long hours of torture inflicted on them. The material evidence collected from the Sathankulam Police Station, Thoothukudi, Tamil Nadu established “brutal torture” against the two deceased.

According to News18 reports, the chargesheet read that, “It is evident from the expert opinion of CFSL, New Delhi that the blood available on the material objects seized from the police station Sathankulam i.e. wooden lathi used by the accused persons for brutal torture of both the deceased and the bloodstains exhibits collected from the walls of PS Sathankulam by FSL during judicial inquiry contain the blood of the deceased Benniks and Jeyaraj on the same. Thus, the fact that deceased Bennicks and Jeyaraj were subjected to brutal torture by the accused police officials in the evening of June 19 and the intervening night of June 19 in the police station Sathankulam, stands established.”

The CBI chargesheet filed against the accused police officers also added that they were tortured inside the police station between 7:45 pm on June 19 and 3 am the next day and were subjected to several rounds of beatings.

Detailing the methods of torture, the chargesheet read: “Process of brutal torture of the deceased Bennicks and his father continued for hours together within the closed premises of police station Sathankulam and all through this, accused inspector S Sridhar has been repeatedly instigating the accused police officers to beat Jeyaraj and Bennicks even more severely.” To make matters worse, their clothes were also removed to add brutality to the torture.

The post mortem reports annexed in the Chargesheet also mentions that the police officers brutally tortured the deceased and “had inflicted several injuries knowing well that they would die of complications of such blunt injuries.”

Background

On June 19 this year, a father son trader duo was taken to a Police Station for allegedly keeping their shop open 15 minutes past lockdown curfew. They were booked under sections 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant), 353 (use of force to deter public servant from duty) 269 (negligent act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life), and 506(2) (Punishment for criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code. The son died on June 22 and the father passed away the next morning. The post mortem report that was submitted to the Madurai bench of the Madras High Court revealed that Bennicks sustained 13 injuries while Jeyaraj had 17 injuries on his body, which caused their death. After being severely thrashed in the Police Station for hours, they were taken to the Sathankulam Government Hospital on June 20, before being presented before the Magistrate. In the hospital they were pronounced fit by doctors and then presented before a magistrate and finally dropped at a sub jail, in a vehicle paid for by the family as reported by The Wire.

With deteriorating health for two consecutive days in the jail, both of them succumbed to their injuries at the Kovilpatti Government Hospital on June 22 and 23 after suffering from internal haemorrhage. Neither the hospital nor the Magistrate registered the pathetic health condition of the men with injuries all over their body. A friend of Benniks also informed The Federal, a Chennai based news site that “Between 7 am and 12 pm on June 20, the father and son had changed at least seven lungies (waistcloth) each as they had become wet due to blood oozing from their rectums.”

On June 24, 2020 the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court took suo moto cognizance of this brutality in the matter The Registrar (Judicial) Madurai Bench of Madras High Court Vs State of Tamil Nadu Represented through The Superintendent Of Police and Ors. (Suo motu W.P. (MD) No.7042 of 2020). A Bench of Justices PM Prakash and B. Pugalendhi had sought a status report from the Superintendent of Police over the death of the two accused who died in police custody.

On June 29, the Tamil Nadu Government had handed the matter over to the CBI and on September 26 the CBI charge-sheeted nine Tamil Nadu policemen for murder, conspiracy, destruction of evidence, wrongful confinement, preparing false records intentionally and other relevant offences under the Indian Penal Code sections filed before the Chief Judicial Magistrate in Madurai. In its charge sheet, the CBI named the then Inspector and SHO S. Sridhar, Sub Inspectors K. Balakrishnan, P. Raghuganesh, Head Constables S. Murugan, A. Samadurai, and Constables M. Muthuraja, S. Chelladurai, X. Thomas Francis and, S. Veilumuthu posted at the police station.

On September 14, one Rajiv Gandhi had also filed a Public Interest Litigation seeking action against the Sattankulam Judicial Magistrate. But a Division Bench of Justices M. Sathyanarayanan and P. Rajamanickam of the Madurai Bench at the Madras High Court observed that the plea was not maintainable as a public interest litigation petition since the issue was a service-related matter and that the investigation into the custodial deaths case was already progressing.

J Selvaranihad, the mother and wife of the two deceased had mentioned in her complaint that her son and husband Jeyaraj died after they were beaten up by volunteers or Friends of Police named Ganapathy, Kannan, Jacob, and Elisa, as reported by The New Indian Express. High Court advocate B Ram Kumar Adityan had also pointed out that FoP are roped in for social service with police. “This is aimed at bridging the gap between the police and public. It was a good idea to maintain a police-public relationship, but over time, it came to be misused", he said.  

The FOP denied any kind of involvement in the custodial death case after allegations surfaced. This led to civil society organisations and common citizens questioning the police’s functioning and the involvement of FOP members in dealing with those brought to police stations for interrogation or taken into custody. It was also alleged that FOP volunteers were asked to help the cops perform their COVID-19 related duties as reported by The Wire. But on July 8, the Tamil Nadu Government banned all Friends of Police activities in view of an ‘adverse report’ from the Director General of Police, Chennai.


Related:

Madras HC orders Judicial Magistrate to conduct inquiry into alleged custodial deaths in Tuticorin

NAPM condemns the alleged custodial torture and death of Jayaraj and Bennicks by TN police

 

 

CBI chargesheet confirms brutal torture on Jeyaraj and Bennicks

The CBI looked into material evidence from the Santhakulam PS and confirmed the use of wooden lathis by police officers.

Jeyaraj and Bennicks

The chargesheet filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation in the custodial death case of a father son duo- RP Jeyaraj and J Bennicks have revealed gory details of the 7 long hours of torture inflicted on them. The material evidence collected from the Sathankulam Police Station, Thoothukudi, Tamil Nadu established “brutal torture” against the two deceased.

According to News18 reports, the chargesheet read that, “It is evident from the expert opinion of CFSL, New Delhi that the blood available on the material objects seized from the police station Sathankulam i.e. wooden lathi used by the accused persons for brutal torture of both the deceased and the bloodstains exhibits collected from the walls of PS Sathankulam by FSL during judicial inquiry contain the blood of the deceased Benniks and Jeyaraj on the same. Thus, the fact that deceased Bennicks and Jeyaraj were subjected to brutal torture by the accused police officials in the evening of June 19 and the intervening night of June 19 in the police station Sathankulam, stands established.”

The CBI chargesheet filed against the accused police officers also added that they were tortured inside the police station between 7:45 pm on June 19 and 3 am the next day and were subjected to several rounds of beatings.

Detailing the methods of torture, the chargesheet read: “Process of brutal torture of the deceased Bennicks and his father continued for hours together within the closed premises of police station Sathankulam and all through this, accused inspector S Sridhar has been repeatedly instigating the accused police officers to beat Jeyaraj and Bennicks even more severely.” To make matters worse, their clothes were also removed to add brutality to the torture.

The post mortem reports annexed in the Chargesheet also mentions that the police officers brutally tortured the deceased and “had inflicted several injuries knowing well that they would die of complications of such blunt injuries.”

Background

On June 19 this year, a father son trader duo was taken to a Police Station for allegedly keeping their shop open 15 minutes past lockdown curfew. They were booked under sections 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant), 353 (use of force to deter public servant from duty) 269 (negligent act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life), and 506(2) (Punishment for criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code. The son died on June 22 and the father passed away the next morning. The post mortem report that was submitted to the Madurai bench of the Madras High Court revealed that Bennicks sustained 13 injuries while Jeyaraj had 17 injuries on his body, which caused their death. After being severely thrashed in the Police Station for hours, they were taken to the Sathankulam Government Hospital on June 20, before being presented before the Magistrate. In the hospital they were pronounced fit by doctors and then presented before a magistrate and finally dropped at a sub jail, in a vehicle paid for by the family as reported by The Wire.

With deteriorating health for two consecutive days in the jail, both of them succumbed to their injuries at the Kovilpatti Government Hospital on June 22 and 23 after suffering from internal haemorrhage. Neither the hospital nor the Magistrate registered the pathetic health condition of the men with injuries all over their body. A friend of Benniks also informed The Federal, a Chennai based news site that “Between 7 am and 12 pm on June 20, the father and son had changed at least seven lungies (waistcloth) each as they had become wet due to blood oozing from their rectums.”

On June 24, 2020 the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court took suo moto cognizance of this brutality in the matter The Registrar (Judicial) Madurai Bench of Madras High Court Vs State of Tamil Nadu Represented through The Superintendent Of Police and Ors. (Suo motu W.P. (MD) No.7042 of 2020). A Bench of Justices PM Prakash and B. Pugalendhi had sought a status report from the Superintendent of Police over the death of the two accused who died in police custody.

On June 29, the Tamil Nadu Government had handed the matter over to the CBI and on September 26 the CBI charge-sheeted nine Tamil Nadu policemen for murder, conspiracy, destruction of evidence, wrongful confinement, preparing false records intentionally and other relevant offences under the Indian Penal Code sections filed before the Chief Judicial Magistrate in Madurai. In its charge sheet, the CBI named the then Inspector and SHO S. Sridhar, Sub Inspectors K. Balakrishnan, P. Raghuganesh, Head Constables S. Murugan, A. Samadurai, and Constables M. Muthuraja, S. Chelladurai, X. Thomas Francis and, S. Veilumuthu posted at the police station.

On September 14, one Rajiv Gandhi had also filed a Public Interest Litigation seeking action against the Sattankulam Judicial Magistrate. But a Division Bench of Justices M. Sathyanarayanan and P. Rajamanickam of the Madurai Bench at the Madras High Court observed that the plea was not maintainable as a public interest litigation petition since the issue was a service-related matter and that the investigation into the custodial deaths case was already progressing.

J Selvaranihad, the mother and wife of the two deceased had mentioned in her complaint that her son and husband Jeyaraj died after they were beaten up by volunteers or Friends of Police named Ganapathy, Kannan, Jacob, and Elisa, as reported by The New Indian Express. High Court advocate B Ram Kumar Adityan had also pointed out that FoP are roped in for social service with police. “This is aimed at bridging the gap between the police and public. It was a good idea to maintain a police-public relationship, but over time, it came to be misused", he said.  

The FOP denied any kind of involvement in the custodial death case after allegations surfaced. This led to civil society organisations and common citizens questioning the police’s functioning and the involvement of FOP members in dealing with those brought to police stations for interrogation or taken into custody. It was also alleged that FOP volunteers were asked to help the cops perform their COVID-19 related duties as reported by The Wire. But on July 8, the Tamil Nadu Government banned all Friends of Police activities in view of an ‘adverse report’ from the Director General of Police, Chennai.


Related:

Madras HC orders Judicial Magistrate to conduct inquiry into alleged custodial deaths in Tuticorin

NAPM condemns the alleged custodial torture and death of Jayaraj and Bennicks by TN police

 

 

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