Judicial Magistrate IV N. Vijayalakshmi on Thursday granted permission to the Crime Branch CID’s Special Investigation Division (SID) to take ‘Police’ Fakruddin and Bilal Malik into custody for 12 days to question them in the case relating to the murder of Bharatiya Janata Party State general secretary V. Ramesh here on July 19.

Custody was granted by the Magistrate, based on a petition filed by the DSP of SID S. Rajan before the judge on Monday.

On Thursday, the two were brought from the Vellore Central Prison to the court amid tight security.

Additional Public Prosecutor M. Salim, who appeared for SID, said they wanted custody of the two as they had earlier reportedly confessed to their role in the murder of Ramesh, during an interrogation by the SID at Vellore.

Counsel for the accused P. Pugalenthi opposed the police custody on the grounds that they were already questioned by the SID team from Salem in connection with the murder of Ramesh. Counsel also said he feared threat to their lives in police custody. The DSP gave an undertaking that no harm would be caused to the accused. Granting custody, the Magistrate said that counsel for the accused could meet them once in two days.

Tension at court

There was tension on the Salem District Combined Court premises as cadres of the BJP and Vishwa Hindu Parishad raised slogans against the accused and urged the police to hang them.

The police, led by Deputy Commissioner of Police (Salem City) A.G. Babu, refused to allow journalists close to the veranda of the court room where the two were produced.

Two journalists, one from the print and the other from electronic media, lodged a complaint with the District Judge and the city police that some police personnel on security at the court assaulted them when they tried to take photographs and videograph the accused when they came out of the court. Journalists at the spot protested and blocked a police escort vehicle. They were removed by the police.

Agitated reporters, photographers and videographers attached to various media organisations staged a road blockade on the Yercaud Main Road. They dispersed after senior police officials assured them of action.

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