Jayavel was selling newspapers at Villupuram Junction

After the mysterious death of a 35-year-old man at the Villupuram railway police station on Wednesday, five personnel have been placed under suspension.

On Thursday, Judicial Magistrate-I Vignesh Prabhu started a probe into the alleged custodial death. The body of R. Jayavel was taken to the Mundiyambakkam government medical college hospital for post mortem.

The suspended personnel are Inspector Vasudevan, Head Constable Balamurugan and constables Thirumurugan, Lokesh Kumar and Srinath.

Jayavel, hailing from Mathur in Krishnagiri district, had been selling newspapers on the platforms of Villupuram Junction for the past eight years.

On Tuesday, a passenger, Acharya of Ettaiyapuram in Tuticorin, lodged a complaint with the Villupuram railway police that during a journey, somebody had stolen his cellphone and a purse with Rs. 600 in cash.

On the pretext of conducting an inquiry into the theft, the police took Jayavel to the station on Wednesday. After some time, he was said to have fainted. When he was taken to the government medical college hospital, doctors declared him brought dead.

Superintendent of Police (Villupuram) S. Manoharan and Superintendent of Police In-charge (Tiruchi Railway Division) Rajavelu visited the station to ascertain the facts.

A First Information Report was filed and a magisterial inquiry was called for.

Jayavel’s family members, including his wife Jothi, alleged that he died after brutally assaulted by the police, who wanted a bribe from him every month to ply his trade at the junction.

As the business was dull in the past few months, Jayavel could not oblige the police, who started harassing him. He shot off a petition to the Chief Minister’s Special Cell, seeking protection.

When the police came to know of it, they took him to the station last week and thrashed him up.

The Magistrate questioned shopkeepers, porters, autorickshaw drivers and the police personnel at the junction.

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