Jeyaraj-Beniks Case: 2 Cops Under Wait List, Constable Suspended

Madras High Court initiated suo moto criminal contempt proceedings against 2 police officers, a constable

2 min read
Jeyaraj-Beniks Case: 2 Cops Under Wait List, Constable Suspended

Just a few hours before they were to appear before the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court over the custodial deaths of Jeyaraj and his son Beniks, Thoothukudi Assistant Superintendent of Police and Deputy Superintendent of Police have been transferred and put under waiting list. Constable Maharajan has been suspended.

This move comes after the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court on Monday, 29 June, initiated suo moto criminal contempt proceedings against the two police officers and constable for taking videos of the magisterial proceedings at the police station and not giving records to the magistrate. They have been asked to appear at 10:30 am on Tuesday.

The court observed that the police officials had harassed the magistrate, thus obstructing the magisterial probe into the case.

The father and son were allegedly booked for keeping their shop open beyond permitted hours during the lockdown.

The brutal treatment meted out by the two men, that led to their death, has sparked massive outrage in the state over police brutality.

“The policemen were not giving the records called for by the learned Magistrate and it is seen that one of them, viz, Maharajan, Police Constable, Sathankulam Police Station had made a very disparaging remark in Tamil – ‘Unnala onnum pudungamudiyadhu’ – to the learned Magistrate,” the court order said.

The Tamil remark roughly translates to, “You cannot do anything to us.”

The Judicial Magistrate has been investigating the circumstances that led to the death of the father and son, due to alleged police brutality. The court had noted that unless the state government intervenes and transfers the two higher officials and all police personnel at Sathankulam police station, it will be difficult to conduct a free and fair enquiry.

“The Magistrate has been very meticulously looking into the details. He spent over four hours examining all the wounds inside the mortuary,” Edward, Beniks’ uncle told The Quint.

"The Kovilpatti Magistrate assured all of us that he had no intentions of saving the Sathankulam Magistrate and that he will ensure to be just and fair in his observations," he added.

Opposition leader MK Stalin lashed at the state government for not intervening and preventing this "obstruction of justice."

The Sathankulam Inspector Sridhar, sub-inspectors Ragu Ganesh and Balakrishnan, and constables Murugan and Muthuraj were already suspended. Sub-Inspectors Manimaran and S Muthumari have been posted in the station.

Following Tamil Nadu state government's appeal, seeking permission to shift the case to CBI, the Madurai Bench of Madras High Court said they don't have an objection and will not interfere with the decision of the state government.

Meanwhile, CCTV footage accessed by The Quint has revealed a few glaring discrepancies in the FIR filed against the two by the Sathankulam police.

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