The Supreme Court on Tuesday declined urgent listing of a bail plea filed by a police officer from Tamil Nadu, who has been chargesheeted by the CBI in the case related to the custodial death of father-son duo Jayaraj-Bennix in June 2020. A bench comprising Justices Vineet Saran and B.R. Gavai noted that this was a case where a father and his son were brutally "beaten black and blue" to death in custody for merely violating lockdown norms.
"This is a very bad case. This is a case for which you should be in jail for some time," said Justice Saran, after senior advocate Anjana Prakash pressed for an urgent listing of the bail plea filed by P. Raghu Ganesh, who was the sub-inspector of the Sathankulam police station, where Jayaraj and Bennix were subjected to custodial torture in June 2020.
Prakash, representing the petitioner, submitted that her client was not present at the station during the time of the crime. The counsel argued that one of the accused died due to COVID-19 while in custody, and pressed for consideration of the bail plea during the vacation.
However, the bench declined to grant urgent listing of the petition during the summer vacation. The top court noted that the records show that there was an eyewitness to Raghu Ganesh's involvement in the crime. Raghu Ganesh had moved the top court challenging a Madras High Court order, which dismissed his bail application. The top court bench has listed the matter for hearing after the summer vacation, which ends on June 28.
On June 19 last year, Jayaraj and Bennix were taken into custody on the allegation that they had kept their mobile phone shop open beyond the permissible hours during the lockdown. After their death in custody, the Tamil Nadu government handed over the investigation to the CBI, which chargesheeted nine police personnel in connection with the case.
"Our investigation revealed that the father-son duo was arrested on the evening of June 19 and was allegedly tortured at the Sathankulam police station by the accused in the evening as well as in the intervening night, consequent to which both of them succumbed to the injuries and died in the intervening night of June 22 and June 23," The CBI had said.