The Madras High Court Bench here has asked two police officials from Madurai district to file their replies in a case of alleged custodial death before April 25, failing which they will have to pay a cost of Rs 15,000.

Justice T. S. Sivagnanam gave the instructions, after hearing the case of K. Perumal, who claimed his son Ramesh had died after being subjected to custodial torture by the Melur police in 2010.

In his petition Mr Perumal said, Ramesh was kept in illegal custody and was tortured by the Melur police from April 22, 2010 to April 29, 2010. He was taken into the illegal custody after one Mr Thangavel gave a complaint that two kg of gold bars he had asked Ramesh to handover in a fertilizer shop in Melur had gone missing, the petition said.

Ramesh was released on the directions of the Deputy Superintendent of Police in Melur, but Inspector R. Balaji and Sub-Inspector M. Baskar asked him to visit the police station everyday for questioning, Mr Perumal said.

On May 10, 2010, the family received the news that Ramesh died during police interrogation in the presence of the Inspector and the Sub-Inspector, he added.

Mr Perumal gave petitions to the Madurai Collector, the Superintendent of Police, the State Human Rights Commission and the Chief Minister’s cell to initiate disciplinary actions against the two cops, but no actions were initiated, he contended.

Besides seeking a fair and impartial investigation and departmental action against the Deputy Superintendent of Police, the Inspector and the Sub-Inspector of Melur, the petitioner’s counsel A. John Vincent pleaded that a compensation of Rs 10 lakh should be awarded for the death of Ramesh.

Despite notice, neither the DSP nor his counsel appeared in the case. Therefore, Justice Sivagnanam said the court would proceed on the basis of the allegations made against him.

The counsel appearing for the Inspector and the Sub-Inspector sought for adjournments several times to file their replies.

Irked by the delay in getting replies from the cops, the judge said they should file their replies before April 25. “The counter-affidavits should be filed before April 25, failing which a cost of Rs 15,000 will be imposed (on the Inspector and the Sub-Inspector)”, Justice Sivagnanam held.

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