The Madras High Court said it won’t intervene in the state’s decision to transfer the case to the CBI.

Jayaraj and BennixJayaraj and Bennix
news Court Monday, June 29, 2020 - 14:24

The Madurai bench of the Madras High Court informed the Tamil Nadu government that it won’t intervene in the state’s decision to transfer the case involving the custodial deaths of father and son in Thoothukudi to the CBI. 

This comes a day after Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami announced that the case would be handed over to the CBI. On Monday, the Tamil Nadu government informed the High Court of its decision.  

The bench comprising Justice PN Prakash and Justice Pugazhendhi observed that police personnel of the Sathankulam station had failed to cooperate with the judicial magistrate who is conducting the inquest into the deaths. The court then ordered Thoothukudi Collector Sandeep Nanduri and Revenue officials to take control of Sathankulam police station. It also directed the Forensic Department to collect and preserve evidence from the police station. 

Appearing for the Tamil Nadu government, advocate Chellapandian sought the High Court’s permission to transfer the case to the CBI. The bench, however, stated that the state government can transfer the case to the CBI and do not need the court’s permission on the matter.  

The High Court, which suo motu had taken up the matter of the custodial deaths last week, said it would continue to closely monitor the case.  

Speaking to TNM, advocate Vishnuvardhan, who is representing Jayaraj's wife said, "The Sathankulam police are not cooperating with the inquiry by the magistrate that is underway. The magistrate informed the court that the police are either claiming that they don't have the documents requested for or that they cannot speak without running matters through higher authorities. This is clearly an effort to slow down the process and protect the police involved in the custodial deaths."

Following the hearing, the case has been adjourned for two weeks.

Sixty-year-old Jayaraj and son Bennix (31) died due to alleged custodial torture by the police. While Bennix passed away on June 22 and his father a few hours later on June 23.