The order came on a petition filed by Selvarani, wife of Jayaraj and mother of Bennix.

Collage of Jayaraj and Bennix
news Sathankulam custodial death case Thursday, March 18, 2021 - 16:02

The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court has ordered a city court to complete the trial in the Sathankulam custodial death case in six months. The order came after a petition filed by Selvarani, wife of Jayaraj and mother of Bennix. In her plea, Selvarani said that during the last hearing in the case that’s in progress at a city court, the accused appeared in person and allegedly threatened the security policemen and the media persons. 

“Police Inspector Sridhar was talking to someone through his relative’s mobile phone and was telling someone to pay Rs 36 lakh. It has been taken to the notice of the judge and I hope action is taken on that complaint,” she said in her petition. She alleged that there was a chance that the accused might destroy evidence and therefore requested the High Court to set a time limit for the completion of trial in the case. 

Taking note of her concerns, the Madras High Court on Thursday issued a six-month deadline for the city court to complete the trial in the case. 

In June 2020, Jayaraj and Bennix were picked up from in front of their mobile phone shop in Sathankulam in Thoothukudi district and taken to the police station for allegedly breaking the time curfew in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The duo were then allegedly tortured by police personnel, which led to their deaths two days later at Kovilpatti sub jail. 

The custodial deaths of the two men sparked a wave of protest and outrage across the country. The delay in filing FIR in the case and contradictions around their time in jail led to the suspension of several police officers attached to the Sathankulam police and the transfer of the Thoothukudi SP Arun Balagopalan. 

The issue led to the Madras High Court taking suo motu cognisance and instructing the police to inform the public that the court is monitoring the case. 

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