Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin announced in the state assembly on 6 May that three policemen from the G5 Secretariat Colony police station have been booked for murder and will be probed in connection with the death of 25-year-old Vignesh.
The CM said that the CB-CID which was entrusted with the probe into the custodial murder has altered the FIR and three policemen — Sub Inspector Pugalum Perumal, Head Constable Pavanraj and Home guard Deepak- have been booked.
Vignesh, a Dalit man who gave horse rides on Chennai’s Marina Beach, died on April 19 after he and his friend Suresh were taken into custody by police officials who claim they found ganja and liquor in the duo’s possession.
According to the police officials’ version, Vignesh had injuries such as swelling, a fracture in his leg, among others, prior to him getting seizures the next morning and these were the reasons for his death.
However, CCTV footage of Vignesh running as policemen tried to arrest him shows no indication of the fracture in his leg.
Moreover, the postmortem report said that he had 13 injuries including injuries on his face. In the photo clicked by the police soon after the arrest, no injuries are visible.
The state government has been under pressure to take action on the policemen, especially after details of the post mortem were out. In the Chief Minister’s address to the state Assembly on April 26 after the opposition AIADMK’s call attention motion, he did not mention the injuries that the police reportedly found on Vignesh’s body prior to him being taken into custody.
This raises the question whether the injuries were hidden from the CM due to the gravity of the situation. Further, eyewitness accounts that TNM published also counter the police’s version.
The post-mortem report also confirmed that Vignesh had acquired the wounds and injuries prior to his death. The report revealed that apart from the fracture in his leg, Vignesh was seriously injured on his limbs, had swellings and abrasions on his face, gluteal region and other parts of the body. Vignesh’s family as well as human rights activists have alleged that Vignesh’s death is a clear case of custodial violence and murder.
(Published in an arrangement with The News Minute.)