Tamil Nadu Govt Transfers Thoothukudi Custodial Deaths Probe to CBI, Order Details Sequence of Events

The Tamil Nadu government on Monday issued an order transferring the case of custodial deaths of a man and his son in Thoothukudi district to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). The case was initially registered at Kovilpatti East Police Station.

The government order sequenced the events right from the arrest of the duo, P Jayaraj (62) and his son J Bennix (32) till their death at a hospital.

The two men were arrested on June 19 for violation of prohibitory orders and produced before the duty doctor of a government hospital at Sathankulam in Thoothukudi district for mandatory medical-examination, the GO said. The next day, a magistrate remanded them in judicial custody and they were lodged at the Kovilpatti sub-jail.

Bennix was admitted at the government hospital in Kovilpatti by jail authorities on June 22 at 7.45pm and he died at 9pm while undergoing treatment. Jayaraj was also admitted to the same facility at 10.30 pm the same day and he died at 5.40am on June 23, the order said.

In the wake of nationwide outrage against their deaths due to alleged police brutality, Chief Minister K Palaniswami had on Sunday said the case would be probed by the CBI and the Madras High Court's Madurai bench would be apprised of the decision.

The director general of police has requested the government to transfer the case to the CBI to "facilitate a free and fair" investigation and it was accepted after careful consideration, the government said in its order, transferring the case to the premier probe agency.

On Monday, the high court observed that it was a policy decision of the state government to transfer the case to the CBI, while appreciating the Palaniswami dispensation for the decision.

The court further directed deputing revenue officers to the Sathankulam Police station to preserve "clue materials" seized following the death of the two, after the principal district judge submitted that policemen there were not cooperating with the judicial magistrate on conducting the inquiry.

(With inputs from PTI)