‘Pulled out teeth, sexually assaulted 2’: TN cop faces custodial torture probe

Three men have alleged in a video posted on social media that IPS Balveer Singh yanked out the teeth of at least eight men with pliers and assaulted two men in their private parts

Ambasamudram ASP Balveer Singh IPS, Chellappa, custodial torture, broken teeth, pliers,
Chellappa speaks about their alleged ordeal in the hands of Ambasamudram ASP Balveer Singh in the video posted on social media | Video grab: Twitter/Thinakaran Rajamani

An IPS officer in Tamil Nadu has been put in “vacancy reserve” and both the district administration and the police have started inquiries into allegations of custodial torture against him, The Hindu has reported. This happened after three men alleged in a video posted on social media that the officer, Balveer Singh, yanked out the teeth of at least eight men with pliers and assaulted two men in their private parts.

Singh, a 2020-batch IPS officer with a BE degree from IIT-Bombay, has been posted Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) of Ambasamudram division in Tamil Nadu since October 15, 2022. The men who have alleged custodial torture were arrested for offences such as moneylending dispute, damaging CCTV cameras, and a marital tiff, says the social media post made by a local journalist.

“Knocked out teeth”

In the video, a man named Chellappa claims that he and his brothers and relatives had a dispute with another group over a love affair. Chellappa and his brothers run a mutton stall at Sivanthipuram. They handed over the members of the rival group, along with their weapons, to the police. The police took six of them to Ambasamudram police station along with the three rivals.

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Chellappa has alleged that Singh called him inside and beat him up. He said Singh was already donning gloves and changed into a pair of shorts before starting the assault. Two policemen, allegedly pinned Chellappa down as Singh knocked out his teeth with a stone. Next, Singh allegedly stuffed his mouth with pieces of the broken stone and punched him till his lips bled.

Next, Singh allegedly asked Chellappa to sit and called the others inside. Chellappa has alleged that they were similarly beaten and their teeth removed with pliers. “One of my brothers lost three teeth. Our mouths were bloody,” he alleged.

Sexual assault

“When he started beating my brother Mariappan, we begged him not to, as he is newly married,” Chellappa says in the video. But upon hearing that, Singh allegedly assaulted Mariappan in his private parts and kicked him on his chest. Chellappa has alleged that Mariappan has since been unable to leave his bed and walk without support.

“He only drinks some juice once a day, as he cannot eat (solid food). Singh broke the teeth of six persons from our group and two from the rivals’. He made us strip to our underwear and beat us up with a stick. He told us to tell the judicial magistrate that we fell off our bikes or from a coconut tree and injured ourselves,” Chellappa has claimed in the video, adding that all of them complied fearing worse consequences.

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The New Indian Express quoted Chellappa’s brother Esakkimuthu as saying that Singh assumed that they were rowdies and asked them who their “gang leader” was. “We explained that we are the complainants. But he said something in Hindi and started beating us up,” he told the newspaper.

Probe started

The New Indian Express quoted an unnamed policeman as saying that Singh’s behaviour had been known to intelligence unit officials from the beginning. Other media reports have also quoted more victims of Singh saying he had yanked out their teeth using pliers.

As the video came to light, the police referred the matter to the district collector for an independent inquiry, Tirunelveli SP P Saravanan told The Hindu. Tirunelveli Collector KP Karthikeyan said he had ordered an inquiry by the sub-divisional magistrate-cum-sub-collector of Cheranmahadevi.

Political outfits, such as Nethaji Subash Sena and Puratchi Bharatham, have launched protests demanding strict action against Singh.