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The Supreme Court of India
The Supreme Court of India

Thoothukudi custodial death case: SC dismisses plea to restrain TN CM Palaniswamy from holding charge of home ministry

ANI | Updated: Jul 16, 2020 23:58 IST

New Delhi [India], July 16 (ANI): The Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed a plea seeking direction to restrain the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu Edappadi K Palaniswamy from holding home portfolio till completion of investigation and trial in the father-son duo custodial death case.
A bench headed by Chief Justice SA Bobde refused to entertain the plea and dismissed the same.
"We see no reason to entertain this petition. Accordingly, the writ petition is dismissed," stated the order.
The petition filed by advocate A Rajarajan has sought a direction to the investigation officer, CBI-CID, to investigate the role of Chief Minister in screening and safeguarding the accused police persons at the initial stage by giving an open press statement on June 24.
The petition has said that on June 24 the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu who holds the portfolio of Ministry of Home Affairs gave a public statement in the press meet that the deceased persons were died due to illness and thereby ruled out foul play in the death of above said deceased persons.
The petitioner submitted the statement of June 24 given by Palaniswamy is "highly improper, condemnable and contrary to law".
"The statement given by Palaniswamy was with the purpose to safeguard the accused persons and thereby to prevent any adverse remark about his government since the accused persons were coming under the Ministry held by him and to substantiate these allegations that Palaniswamy actively involved to screen and safeguard the offenders of custodial torture can be construed from the outcome of the CBI-CID investigation," the petition stated.

The plea claimed that family members of the deceased persons alleged that they were subjected to severe physical torture by the police personnel belonging to Sathankulam police station before remanding them in a criminal. It said the family further alleged that the cause of death of the deceased persons was due to the severe injuries inflicted by the police personnel when they were in the pre remand custody.
The issue relates to custodial deaths of a father-son duo, P Jayaraj and Bennix after being arrested by Sathankulam police.
Earlier today, four policemen from Sathankulam police station were sent to judicial custody by the Madurai District Court in connection with the case.
Five policemen were arrested in the case, who were transferred to the Madurai Central Jail from Thoothukudi. A district police court had earlier ordered a 15-day remand for three police officials in the case.
The father-son duo was arrested and they were taken into custody on June 19 and were lodged in Kovilpatti sub-jail for keeping their mobile shop open during a curfew imposed during COVID-19 lockdown.
The CBI was handed over the case on July 7. The Centre had earlier accepted the Tamil Nadu government's request to transfer the case to the probe agency.
The case was previously registered at the Kovilpatti East Police Station in Thoothukudi district. (ANI)