The family of 33-year-old Rajasekar, who died in police custody in Chennai on Sunday,12 June, refused to receive his body on Monday. Rajasekar was categorised as a ‘B category’ history-sheeter by the Sholavaram police and had around 30 cases against him.
He was picked up by Kodungaiyur police in connection with a jewellery theft case, and reportedly collapsed due to uneasiness during his questioning.
After he complained of uneasiness, Rajasekar was rushed to the Government Stanley hospital where he was declared as brought dead by doctors.
While the police have maintained that he had health issues and complications which led to his collapse, his family has alleged foul play.
Family Demands Justice
Speaking to reporters on Monday, 13 June, Rajasekar’s mother, Usha Rani, said, “I asked him not to go, but he said he was in danger because of the police and had to leave. I came to know about his demise after watching the news on TV. Nobody had called and informed me. Police can arrest him but who gave them the right to kill my son. The Chief Minister should take action and my son's death should be the last custodial death.”
When the media asked whether police arrested him in his house, she denied the claim. "They beat my son to death. Now, they’re saying he died in the police station. My son never had a seizure. I need justice and I won’t receive his dead body and I wouldn't go to the police station," his mother added.
Rajasekar’s brother, Manikandan, told reporters, “He met my mother on Saturday, 10 June, and ate food at home. On Sunday morning, the police arrested him. Later, we came to know about his death by watching the news, but we received no information from the police station. Ayanavaram, Villivakkam, and Sholavaram police stations were responding to our calls, but P6 police personnel were not giving any information to us. They called us today (Monday), 13 June, and said my brother has passed away and wanted to know his residential address.”
Accused Police Inspectors Suspended
He further alleged, “What police have claimed about his health condition is not true. He has never been in hospital and never had any health issues. He died because the police had beaten him.”
The State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) also took note of the issue and sought a report from the Chennai police commissioner within four weeks.
Meanwhile, five police officers, including the inspector of Kodungaiyur police station, were suspended following the incident.
The suspended officers are Inspector George Miller Ponraj, Sub Inspector Kanniyappan, head constables Jayasekhar and Manivannan, and Grade I police constable Sathiyamoorthy.
The MKB Nagar police have registered a case under Section 176(1)(A) of the Criminal Procedure Code, which deals with custodial death.
Metropolitan Magistrate S Lakshmi conducted an inquiry at the Government Stanley Medical College, at Kodungaiyur police station, and also with the relatives of the deceased.
In addition to the inquiry by the magistrate, Assistant Commissioner Sembedu Babu has been appointed as the investigating officer in the case.
(Published in an arrangement with The News Minute.)