Sattankulam custodial deaths | Police tortured Jayaraj and Benicks knowing it will result in death, says CBI charge sheet

Charge sheet says injuries were caused at station.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), in its charge sheet against the nine policemen accused in the Sattankulam custodial death case, said trader P. Jayaraj and his son J. Benicks were subjected to brutal torture by the policemen, knowing well that it was sufficient to cause their death.

The expert opinion received from the Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL), New Delhi, established that bleeding injuries were caused to the duo on the premises of the Sattankulam police station. The DNA profile generated from the exhibits lifted from the walls of the station were found to be consistent with the DNA profile generated from the blood-stained clothes of the deceased.

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All the material exhibits seized by the Kovilpatti Judicial Magistrate during the judicial inquiry and the exhibits obtained during the investigation were sent to the CFSL.

The exhibits included blood stains collected from the walls, lock-up, toilet, the room of the Station House Officer and other areas of the police station.

The services of a multi-disciplinary team of CFSL experts were requisitioned for inspection/reconstruction of the scene of crime. The team from New Delhi inspected the scene of crime at Sattankulam and materials were collected. The report of the team was awaited, and it would be produced before the court when received, the CBI said.

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Further, the CBI said there were inconsistencies in different reports/documents relating to the initial medical examination reports of the two deceased at the government hospital at Sattankulam. The reports, including inquest and post-mortem reports, have been referred to a multi-institutional medical board of forensic medicine experts, and the board’s report was awaited.

The investigation revealed that in pursuance of a criminal conspiracy hatched by the accused policemen, Jayaraj was picked up from his shop near the Kamaraj statue on June 19 at 7.30 p.m. and lodged at the police station. On information, Benicks rushed to the station to enquire about the arrest of his father. He objected to his father being beaten up. Following an altercation, the two were wrongfully confined at the police station and beaten up in order to teach them a lesson on how to behave with the police. The torture continued for several hours throughout the night, the CBI said.

Jayaraj and Benicks, with only their vests on, were made to bow down on a wooden table and subjected to a severe beating with batons. The police caught their hands so that they could not defend themselves. Jayaraj told the police about his blood pressure and diabetic condition, but they did not pay heed to his pleas, the CBI said.

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The two were made to clean the blood that had oozed from their wounds and pooled on the floor with their own vest. The next morning the sweeper of the police station was made to clean the blood on the floor so as to destroy the evidence. A false case was registered against the two by the policemen, the CBI said.

During the investigation it was revealed that the traders had not violated the COVID-19 lockdown rules, the CBI said. A ‘fit for remand’ certificate was obtained despite severe injuries. The blood-stained clothes were dumped in the dustbin of the Sattankulam government hospital.

The father and the son were limping and unable to sit properly when they were produced before the Medical Officer. They were subsequently produced before the Sattankulam Judicial Magistrate for remand. It was at the Kovilpatti Sub-Jail that the two developed health complications and succumbed to injuries at the Kovilpatti government hospital.

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The CBI has filed the charge sheet against the then inspector S. Sridhar, sub-inspectors P. Raghu Ganesh and K. Balakrishnan, head constables S. Murugan and A. Saamidurai and constables M. Muthuraj, S. Chelladurai, X. Thomas Francis and S. Veilumuthu. Special sub-inspector Pauldurai, an accused, died of COVID-19.

The charges have been made under Section 120 B (party to a criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), read with Sections 302 (murder), 342 (wrongful confinement), 201 (causing disappearance of evidence of offence), 182 (false information), 193 (false evidence), 211 (false charge of offence), 218 (public servant framing incorrect record) and 34 (common intention).

The accused are in judicial custody and lodged in the Madurai Central Prison.


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