‘Restrain TN CM from holding home ministry till completion of custody death probe'

Petition in SC also seeks probe into CM's alleged role in safeguarding the accused

Palaniswami Edappadi Palaniswami | PTI

A petition was filed in the Supreme Court on Friday seeking direction to restrain Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami from holding the home portfolio till the ongoing investigation into the death of a father-son duo in police custody at Sasthankulam in Tuticorin is complete. 

The petition filed by advocate  A. Rajarajan also sought a direction from the top court to the  Crime Branch of Criminal Investigation Department (CB-CID) to probe the alleged role  of the chief minister in safeguarding the accused police personnel.

The petitioner argued that Palaniswami had issued a public statement on June 24, saying P. Jayaraj and his son Bennix died due to illness, and had ruled out any foul play. 

“The statement given by Palaniswami was  with the purpose to safeguard the accused persons and thereby to prevent any adverse remarks about his government since the accused persons were coming under the ministry held by him,” the petition said, reported ANI.

The Crime-Branch CID on Wednesday slapped murder charges on six people, including two

sub-inspectors, and arrested one of them in connection with the incident.

 Jayaraj and Bennix were allegedly subjected to police brutality at Sasthankulam station where they were detained over alleged lockdown violations late last month.

 The father-son duo died at a hospital in Kovilpatti on June 23.

The incident sparked off a nationwide outrage with the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) issuing notices to the state police chief and Tuticorin Superinten dent of Police, seeking a detailed report.

The Madras High Court, which has taken up the matter of the death of the duo, had on Tuesday transferred the probe to the CB-CID under DSP Anil Kumar.

Officials led by Kumar conducted enquiries with the family members of the deceased on Wednesday, besides in the locality where the duo ran their cellphone shop.

CB-CID sleuths also visited the Sathankulam police station. The FIRs filed earlier were altered to include murder charges under Indian Penal Code section 302 against the four police personnel and the two Friends of Police.