Assistant Commissioner of Police S. Velladurai (45) has denied allegations that an encounter in which suspected chain snatcher Kaviarasu alias Kaviarasan (30) and his accomplice Murugan alias ‘Kalmandayan' Murugan (28) were killed here on February 16 was fake and premeditated.
In his counter affidavit filed before the Madras High Court Bench here through his counsel W. Peter Ramesh Kumar, the police officer said that a lawyer had filed the public interest litigation petition levelling various charges against the police personnel, involved in the encounter, only to help the family of the deceased obtain monetary compensation.
According to the Assistant Commissioner, Kaviarasu and Murugan were intercepted by a police team, led by him, during a multipurpose vehicle inspection on February 16 on the Ramanathapuram Road check post. Then, the accused refused to stop their two-wheeler and tried to escape from the police. But they lost the balance and fell down on the roadside.
One of the sub-inspectors of police recognised Kaviarasu, who was accused of various criminal charges in a number of cases pending before different police stations in Madurai and other districts, and tried to apprehend him. Immediately, the latter inflicted a cut injury on the police officer with an ‘Aruval' (similar to a machete).
“Seeing this, I took my revolver and warning the deceased not to attack the police, I tried to apprehend. But the said deceased Kaviarasu also tried to attack me and therefore, on exercising the right of private self defence to save my life and the life of others namely the bystanders and the police party I shot at the deceased,” his affidavit read.
“The other deceased, Murugan alias Kalmandaian cut the Head constable Ganesan with a large ‘patta' knife on his head and the latter collapsed on the ground… I had to rush once again to the rescue of the police party and the general public. But Murugan tried to stab me with vigorous force and therefore to safeguard our lives, I shot him,” he added.
On “killing spree”
Pointing out that the PIL petitioner had listed out 24 encounter deaths that had taken place in the State to drive home the point that the police here were on a killing spree, Mr. Velladurai said: “This will be the case in any State in the country and further in all the 24 cases listed by the petitioner, police parties have been attacked, grievously injured and hospitalised.”
He also said that the investigation regarding the death of the two accused on February 16 had now been taken up by a Revenue Divisional Officer as required under Section 174 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. This enquiry was yet to be completed and hence there was no question of granting a compensation of Rs.20 lakh to the family of the deceased.
Apart from the PIL petition, A. Guruvammal, mother of Murugan, had filed a criminal original petition seeking a direction to register a murder case against all police officials involved in the encounter death of her son. She also sought for a consequent direction to hand over the investigation to an independent agency such as the Central Bureau of Investigation.
The 55-year-old woman stated that six policemen in plainclothes trespassed into her house on February 14 and enquired about the whereabouts of her son. It was also alleged that she along with her daughter, son-in-law, grandson, nephew and others were assaulted and tortured under the guise of enquiry.
“The police took all of us in a vehicle to Thimmapuram near Kariapatti and kept in the van in a place called Pirakaraikadu and beat all of us… Upon information, my son surrendered before the police party,” she said and alleged that the policemen killed her son in a fake encounter after keeping in him illegal custody for a couple of days.