Special Sub Inspector (SSI) Pauldurai, who was arrested in connection with the custodial deaths of Jayaraj and Bennix in Sathankulam, died early on Monday, 10 August. He was admitted in Madurai Government Rajaji Hospital after he was tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
According to reports, the 56-year-old policeman died in the wee hours of Monday while he was being treated for COVID-19. He was arrested along with four other policemen on 8 July by the CB-CID, which was tasked with the probe into the custodial death case of Jayaraj and Bennix from Sathankulam.
Pauldurai was remanded to judicial custody in Madurai Central Jail on 14 July. On 24 July, he tested positive for the coronavirus, after which he was admitted to the government hospital in Madurai. He was reportedly suffering from diabetes and heart diseases and was in critical condition since Saturday.
Background of the Case Against Pauldurai
Special Sub Inspector (SSI) Pauldurai was arrested along with four other policemen – Chelladurai, Saamadurai, Veyilamuthu and Thomas – in connection with the case. These officers were allegedly holding Jayaraj and Bennix while the other policemen attacked them. They were booked under Section 302 (Punishment for murder), Section 201 (Causing disappearance of evidence of offence), Section 342 r/w 107 (Punishment for wrongful confinement) of the IPC.
Their arrests came after the CB-CID had arrested five other policemen on 19 July who were on duty in the Sathankulam police station — Inspector Sridhar, sub inspectors Balakrishnan and Raghuganesh, and constables Murugan and Muthuraj the week before.
These five policemen were booked by the CB-CID for murder of the father-son duo and remanded to judicial custody.
Jayaraj and Bennix were picked up by the Sathankulam police on 19 June for allegedly keeping their mobile phone shop open beyond the curfew hours. After being taken to the station, the two were allegedly assaulted by the policemen before they were remanded.
On 22 June, Bennix complained of chest pain while in the Kovilpatti prison and died later at the Kovilpatti Government Hospital while his father Jayaraj also died within a few hours on 23 June.
The incident caused massive outrage across the state with the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court taking suo motu cognisance of the case and it ordered CB-CID to conduct an investigation. Meanwhile, the government of Tamil Nadu announced that the CBI will take over the probe in the case.
(The story was published in an arrangement with The News Minute.)