Under fire for its alleged inaction in the Tirunelveli custodial torture case, the Tamil Nadu government on Monday registered a First Information Report (FIR) against former Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Balveer Singh IPS on charges of torturing suspects in custody in the Ambasamudram sub division.
The action comes ahead of the Home department's demand for grants in Tamil Nadu Assembly. Chief Minister M.K. Stalin, who is in charge of the Home department, had earlier informed the Assembly that Singh has been placed under Vacancy Reserve (VR) for his act. The former ASP has been booked under Sections 324 (causing hurt by weapons), 326 (grievous hurt by dangerous weapons) and 506/1 (punishment for criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code by the Tirunelveli District Crime Branch.
Singh has been charged with extreme torture of tooth extraction and even crushing the testicles of the suspects who were detained in various cases in a few police stations in Tirunelveli district.
The Ambasamudram custodial torture case had apparently exposed the chinks in Law and Order and the high handedness of the police department in the state. The chief minister himself said in the Assembly that Singh had “damaged” the teeth of the suspects who were in custody. However, the government's inaction for more than 23 days in the case had drawn flak from various quarters.
Despite human rights activists taking up the custodial torture case to the human rights commission and demanding severe action against the IPS officer, the government did not act.
However, with just two more days to go for the grants for the home department in the assembly on April 20, the government has chosen to register the FIR. Sources say that the opposition AIADMK had planned to rake up the issue in the assembly.
“The FIR should have been registered under Section 307 of IPC. It is a clear attempt to murder. He had crushed the testicles of the detainees. One of them, Mariappan, is still under treatment and there is no way he can come out of it for the next two years,” says advocate Maharajan. Vedha Narayanan, one of the auto drivers who was allegedly tortured by Singh, says that he had lost his hearing capacity.
Narayanan appeared before the inquiry committee headed by P. Amudha IAS. While the inquiry committee did not take off on the first day, a few of the victims and their families appeared before it on the second sitting on Monday.