A section of villagers of Idayapatti close to Puthanatham near here resorted to a road blockade for four hours on Tuesday following the death of a villager, P. Ramesh, under mysterious circumstances after being called for an enquiry to the Melur Police Station in Madurai district on Monday in connection with a case.

The agitated villagers blocked traffic on the Manapparai – Thuvarankurichi road demanding action against police personnel of Melur besides seeking action against the complainant, Thangavel.

Police sources said Ramesh worked as a driver for Thangavel, who runs a fertilizer outlet at Puthanatham. Thangavel had reportedly sent Rs.5 lakh in cash and two kilograms of gold through Ramesh in the last week of April to be handed over to two persons at Melur and Madurai respectively.

Ramesh handed over the cash to the person concerned in Melur but later informed Thangavel that he had lost the gold while travelling in the bus. Growing suspicious, Thangavel lodged a complaint with Melur Police Station. Ramesh, who was quizzed in connection with the case, was again called for enquiry by the Melur Police on Monday. Ramesh went along with his father Perumal and his relatives. However, the police had asked the relatives of Ramesh to go back.

The sources said one of Ramesh's relatives received a call on Tuesday informing him that Ramesh had been hospitalised following stomach problem. Meanwhile, it came to light that Ramesh had died.

Suspecting foul play in his death, relatives and villagers resorted to the road roko. Police and revenue officials rushed to the spot and persuaded the villagers to withdraw the stir.

Madurai bureau adds: Amidst allegation of custodial death, the police claimed that P. Ramesh alias Nambu (30) died of diarrhoea and vomiting.

The Inspector General of Police (South Zone), S.S. Krishnamoorthi, told ‘The Hindu' that he had come to the police station on May 8 and May 9 for interrogation. “He had been summoned to come to the station again only on May 12. It is not known as to why he had come here yesterday (Monday),” Mr. Krishnamoorthi said.

“The (Melur) Inspector of Police was away elsewhere on official duty and returned only at 10 p.m. Ramesh had not entered the police station at all,” the IG said.

Meanwhile, Ramesh had stayed back in a canteen on the taluk office premises, where the police station is also located. “He had fallen unconscious following diarrhoea and a Sub-Inspector called an ambulance.

The canteen staff took him to a private hospital and later to the Government hospital at Melur, where he died,” he said. The body was sent to Manaparai after post-mortem in the evening.