Two policemen suspended; a judicial magistrate’s inquiry ordered

An auto driver died at the government hospital here after he was picked up by the police for collaring a policeman and subjected to lathi charge at Nagore police station on Tuesday. Two policemen have been suspended and a judicial magistrate’s inquiry has been ordered.

According to the police, Suresh (39) from Paal Panaicherry was in an inebriated state and picked up an altercation with Nagore police inspector N.S. Rajendran and his team, which was regulating parked vehicles on New Year’s eve in the town.

The team was in-charge of traffic regulation at Vanjore check post bordering Karaikal and Nagapattinam. Suresh, who was a bystander, was said to have made some remark leading to the altercation.

Suresh was immediately taken to Nagore police station. He had sustained visible injuries in his limbs. He was booked under section 294 (B) (using obscene language in public place), 353 (assault or criminal force deterring public servant from discharging his duty), and 506 (ii) (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code.

He was later prepared to be taken to be produced before Vedaranyam JM as Nagapattinam JM was unavailable. “He was given ‘idli’ for dinner and then taken to Nagapattinam government hospital for medical check prior to being taken for his remand,” Superintendent of Police Sibi Chakravarthi told The Hindu.

At the GH, Suresh had collapsed while being taken for dressing of his injuries around midnight. Attempts to revive him failed and he was declared dead around 1.30 p.m.

Mr. Chakravarthi had suspended inspector Rajendran and SSI Jayaraman for disobeying orders. “I had instructed all the police stations not to take any drunken person to the police station, not even for drunken driving. This is a regular instruction that is scrupulously followed, more so on New Year’s eve. These men were suspended for disobeying their superior’s orders,” Mr. Chakravarthi told The Hindu.

Suresh is survived by his wife and two children. Alleging custodial death, the victim’s family and some trade union members staged a road blockade at Paal Panaicherry on Wednesday. Assurances from the Superintendent of Police for an inquiry and RDO’s assurances for solatium and government job for Suresh’s wife made the protesters disperse.

High drama prevailed at the government hospital throughout the day as Suresh’s kin supported by a few trade union members, staged a protest. The family members refused to accept the body until a written commitment for a government job and solatium was given.

Collector T. Munusamy said that rules would be followed in perusing the matter.

The post-mortem was video recorded under the supervision of the Judicial Magistrate, and under Section 176 I A of Cr.P.C, a judicial magistrate’s inquiry has already commenced, Mr. Chakravarthi said.