Within minutes of being taken to the Podanur Police Station for inquiry on Monday night, autorickshaw driver Martin collapsed and died at the station. He was declared dead on arrival at a private hospital in Podanur.
According to sources, the Traffic Police picked up Martin from the Podanur Bus Stop, near the Railway Kalyana Mandapam, at 8.50 p.m. Monday after they found him driving the good carrier under the influence of liquor.
The police officer on duty produced him at the Station around 9 p.m. for further action. The officials there began preparing the memo requesting medical examination by seeking his details. Even as they were on the job, Martin, after informing his wife Merlin about his being picked up, fell on the floor and collapsed.
By 9.15 p.m. when the Podanur Police took Martin to a nearby private hospital, the doctors there declared him dead on arrival. Based on the doctor’s report, the police took him to the Coimbatore Medical College Hospital for post mortem, said a senior police officer.
Ruling out foul play, the officer said that the Podanur Police did not assault him and could not have done so within 15 minutes. Besides, it was a case of drunken driving and Martin was not a criminal to be severely interrogated.
Enquiries the police conducted had revealed that Martin had suffered injuries in his head a couple of years ago and had since had epileptic seizures. On Monday night at the Station, he had had a seizure before he collapsed.
The police had obtained Martin’s medical records from his family, the officer added.
Doctors at the Coimbatore Medical College Hospital said that they had conducted post mortem on Martin’s body and sent parts of the viscera for chemical analysis and hystopathological examination to ascertain the exact cause of death.
The doctors would submit the report to the Judicial Magistrate concerned.
The Podanur Police following Martin’s death in their custody had followed procedure laid down under Section 176 (1)(a), which calls for inquiry by magistrate into cause of death. In this case, Judicial Magistrate VII conducted the inquiry.