Over two weeks since the anti-Sterlite activist Mugilan went missing, the Madras High Court has ordered the Crime Branch’s Criminal Investigation Department (CB-CID) police to file a status report.
According to reports, the court passed the order on a habeas corpus petition moved by human rights activist Henri Tiphagne, which sought directions from the court to order the state police to trace Mugilan and produce him in the court. Henri’s petition states that Mugilan went missing after he exposed the alleged involvement of two senior police officials in the firing that took place in Thoothukudi on May 22 in which 13 people were killed.
While the counsel for the government of Tamil Nadu informed the court that the case has been transferred to CB-CID, the counsel for Henri Tiphagne, Sudha Ramalingam sought that the probe be conducted by an independent agency. The court, however, refused this plea stating that it cannot interfere in the police investigation and posted the case for March 18.
Mugilan, the Coordinator of Tamil Nadu Environment Protection Movement, went missing on February 15 night while travelling from Chennai Egmore to Madurai. Earlier that day, he had conducted a press meet accusing two senior police officers of being complicit when the miscreants torched government vehicles and destroyed CCTV cameras in Thoothukudi.
In his habeas corpus petition, Henri Tiphagne has stated that all his enquiries with various police control rooms regarding Mugilan’s whereabouts proved futile and hence, he was filing the petition. He also stated that Mugilan had, in fact, confided in his colleague Sridhar that the police may act against him since he had alleged the role of senior officers.
On Saturday, a number of political parties in Tamil Nadu came together to demand that the government take efforts to trace Mugilan. The DMK, VCK, MDMK, CPI and TVK took part in the protest meeting and demanded that special investigating teams be formed to find Mugilan.