The death of a 26-year-old woman in Tamil Nadu’s Chengalpattu district has triggered outrage as her family have alleged extortion and murder. Sumathi* was found dead in her house on 24 June. It was initially suspected that she had taken her own life. However, her family has now alleged that Sumathi was being extorted by 35-year-old Purushothaman, a DMK man whose brother is a party functionary in the neighbouring Kancheepuram district.
On Saturday, Sumathi’s brother Arun staged a sit-in protest at the burial ground, seeking justice for his sister. The family, which has raised suspicions over Sumathi's death, is yet to receive her post mortem report even after 10 days.
Speaking to The News Minute, Arun said, “We do not believe that my sister killed herself. My sister had marks on her neck and her chest was swollen. The police or the hospital authorities have not given the post-mortem report even after 10 days of the death. Purushothaman’s brother is also a DMK party member so they have political influence.”
Purushothaman's brother is the Kancheepuram South District Edaikazhinadu deputy youth wing organiser of the DMK.
Following protests by the family, the Cheyyur police in Chengalpattu altered the FIR registered in the case and booked Purushothaman under Section 306 (Abetment of Suicide) of the India Penal Code. A case was initially registered under Section 174 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC).
In the altered report, the police stated that Purushothaman got angry and assaulted Sumathi as her family were in search of a groom for her. He had used trigger words leading her to take the extreme step, the police report stated.
The police are trying to trace the whereabouts of Purushothaman who is at large.
Arun alleged that his paralysed father was the only one at home when his sister died.
“I was in Chennai for work and my mother was not at home. So, the eyewitnesses tell us that Purushothaman came to our home and hit my sister since the bridegroom’s family accepted the proposal. As the altercation got heated, Purushothaman killed my sister and left the home. After half an hour, he came back home and he was the first person to see my sister dead. So we believe that he murdered my sister,” alleged Arun.
According to the family, Purushothaman and his brother Devendiran filmed the woman while she was bathing a year ago.
When asked about this, Cheyyur police inspector Chinnadurai said, “Even we heard about the complaint, but we have not retrieved the footage yet. It is said that Devandiran has videographed, but both the brothers are absconding.”
The police denied the family’s allegations that Sumathi had been murdered. The inspector said, “The case is a clear abetment of suicide. Purushothaman is the prime accused and he was there even a few minutes before the woman took the extreme step. He only retrieved the body of the woman, but he did not kill the woman as claimed by the family.”
Purushothaman, Sumathi and the two eyewitnesses are relatives, added the inspector.
DMK chief MK Stalin issued a statement on Saturday, suspending the two party men involved in the case. In the statement, Stalin said, “Kancheepuram South District Edaikazhinadu deputy youth wing organiser D Devendiran and D Purushothaman have been suspended from primary membership of the party for bringing a bad name to the organisation.”
(Published in an arrangement with The News Minute.)
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