Ten days after the custodial death of 25-year-old Vignesh in Chennai, yet another case of a man dying in judicial custody was reported in Tamil Nadu’s Tiruvannamalai district. Thangamani, 48, was arrested on 26 April on charges of brewing arrack illegally, and was found dead in jail the next day. His family has alleged that this was a case of judicial death as he was assaulted by the police and not given medical treatment.
Questioning the police role in Thangamani’s death, as he was in good health when he was arrested, the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) has sought a CBI enquiry into the matter.
AIADMK coordinator Paneerselvam called for a proper investigation into the allegations made by Thangamani’s son that the family was asked to pay a hefty sum by the police.
Wife Alleges Police Demanded Money in Order to Not File Case
Thangamani was a farmer from Thattaranai village in Tiruvannamalai district. The police have alleged that he was booked in 22 cases and was convicted in four.
Reports suggest that he was arrested from home on 26 April and taken to Tiruvannamalai Government Medical College Hospital for a routine medical test. He was lodged at the sub-jail around 6.30 pm the same day. However, on the morning of 27 April, he developed seizure and was rushed to the Government Medical College and Hospital. He was discharged after a few hours but again suffered seizure in the evening at the sub-jail. He was taken to the hospital again but he died at 8.45 pm. The postmortem report said that the death occurred due to “alcohol withdrawal symptoms” as Thangamani was already suffering from liver damage and kidney failure.
His family members demanded an inquiry into the his death, alleging torture before he was sent to the sub-jail. His wife, Malar, in a petition to the Collector said that he was not involved in any unlawful activities. She alleged that the police had demanded Rs 2 lakh from her husband in order that they might not file a case against him. As they refused to pay up, Thangamani was taken into custody.
Police Tried to Negotiate a Deal After Father's Death, Alleges Son
Thangamani’s son Dhinakaran told mediapersons that after his father's arrest, Enforcement Wing Inspector Nirmala and three policemen visited their house at 3 am on Wednesday and threatened to keep Thangamani in jail for a year if the family refused to pay the bribe.
Vellore Range DIG Dr Z Annie Vijaya refuted the allegations to The New Indian Express stating, “Thangamani has been booked multiple times for brewing illicit liquor since 2009 and he’s even been convicted in a few cases. He was secured during a raid and was remanded in sub-jail. He developed health complications twice on the same day and was admitted to the GH."
His son alleged that after his death, the police offered a deal to silence the truth. “Our father died on April 27. We did not sleep the entire night and the second night (April 28), a group of police arrived at our house to negotiate. They started at Rs 2 lakh and raised it to Rs 6 lakh. They said that our father’s body was decomposing as we speak and they wanted us to accept the money and claim the body,” he told The News Minute.
He named two police persons who were among those who approached the family – Sub-Inspector Muthuraman and DSP Annadurai.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin on Friday informed the Assembly that the government will ensure the probe into the alleged custodial death of Thangamani will be thorough and fair.
(With inputs from The New Indian Express and The News Minute)