SIs accused of murder in Sathankulam face another custodial torture case

S Raja Singh, a murder accused, in his complaint said while in police custody, sub-inspectors Balakrishnan and Ragu Ganesh beat him on his private parts until the flesh was torn off and bleeding

Sub-inspectors Balakrishnan (left) and Raghuganesh. Photo: By special arrangement

A fresh case has been registered against Ragu Ganesh and Balakrishnan, sub-inspectors of Sathankulam police station, accused in the custodial deaths of a father-son duo Jeyaraj and Bennicks, in relation to another case of custodial torture. The charges include illegal detention, and voluntarily causing hurt to extract a confession.

The complainant has accused the policemen of repeatedly beating him on his private parts and leaving him grievously injured.

Based on the direction of Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) S Hema, Sathankulam police inspector Bernard Xavier registered a case against Ragu Ganesh and Balakrishnan under various sections including section 341 (punishment for wrongful restraint), 342 (punishment for wrongful confinement), 324 (voluntarily causing hurt), 330 (voluntarily causing hurt to extort confession), 448 (punishment for house-trespass) of Indian Penal Code (IPC).

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On June 26, the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court directed Tuticorin’s CJM to conduct an enquiry into the injuries sustained by S Raja Singh, murder case accused, who is an inmate of the sub-jail in Kovilpatti.

The court said that if CJM wants, she may direct the station officer to conduct a full-fledged investigation into the case. The court also directed the inspector to register an FIR immediately and the Superintendent of Police (SP) to transfer the investigation of the case to the Deputy SP.

Related news: Custodial torture: Police not only break the law, but also limbs of detainees

Raja Singh along with a few others, accused in a murder case, were taken in police custody on May 19 and were remanded to judicial custody only on May 21. In his complaint, Raja Singh said while in police custody, sub-inspectors Balakrishnan and Ragu Ganesh had beaten him mercilessly until the flesh of his buttocks was torn and bleeding.

“On May 20 morning between 7-8 am, sub-inspector Balakrishnan made me lie on a bench and beat me black and blue. Even as he was beating, I started bleeding. I pleaded with him to leave me as I had been beaten up by everyone by then, but he didn’t relent. I was later lodged in the lock-up,” Raja Singh said in his complaint.

“At around 11 am, sub-inspector Ragu Ganesh came and made all of us to lie on a bench and started to beat us on the buttocks. I told him that I was already bleeding, but he stripped me, asked the ‘friends of the police’ (volunteers) to hold my hands and started to beat on my buttocks. Unable to bear the pain, I fell off the bench. Again, the SI asked the ‘friends of police’ to hold my hands against the wall and beat on my buttocks,” he said.

Raja Singh said he was again beaten on May 21 morning by Ragu Ganesh, but this time on his hands.

“When Ragu Ganesh again asked me to lie down to beat on the buttocks, I told him that I was already bleeding. SI Balakrishnan also told SI Ragu that I am already bleeding and there was nothing left on my back. But, still SI Ragu Ganesh insisted me to show the wounds. As I could not remove my inners because of pain, I tore the dress to show him after which he was convicted and directed the assault to my hands for about 20-25 times,” Raja said in his complaint.

Raja along with other accused was threatened not to say anything about their custodial torture to the doctors as well as the judicial magistrate.

After five days of being lodged in the Perurani jail in the district, Raja was treated for his injuries and was also taken to a nearby primary health centre for treatment.

“Initially, I was taking the help of the inmates in the prison to apply ointments on the wounds. But, a day later, they said they could not apply ointments as the injury was grievous and they felt uncomfortable to eat after seeing the injury,” Raja Singh said.

Related news: TN custodial deaths expose other cases of alleged police torture

He also told in his complaint that a part of flesh in buttocks was torn apart and that he had to cut off as it was hurting more. He was treated as an in-patient at the Palayamkottai prison for 11 days before being shifted to Kovilpatti prison.

In Kovilpatti prison, Raja Singh has met the two traders Jayaraj and Beniks, who were also tortured at the Sathankulam police station and found them in a very bad shape as both of them could not walk because of the injuries in their back and were bleeding from their rectum.

Based on Raja Singh’s complaint and after preliminary investigation by the CJM S Hema, a case has been registered against the two SIs and a DSP cadre officer has been deputed for an inquiry.

The CBI on Tuesday (July 14) was granted three days’ custody of the five police personnel arrested in the case – Ragu and Balakrishnan as well as inspector Sridhar and head constables Muthuraj and Murugan.

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