Magistrate submits report after examining 35 witnesses; refrains from naming policemen involved

The death of R.Venkatesan (25) in Paramakudi Government Hospital minutes after he was brought to the hospital from the police station on October 3, 2012, was a case of custodial death, according to a judicial enquiry.

Paramakudi Judicial Magistrate P. Revathi, who conducted the enquiry, held that Venkatesan, hailing from Madurai and wanted in connection with a theft case, had died of multiple injuries caused by assault while in custody at Emaneswaram police station.

The magistrate arrived at this conclusion after examining 35 witnesses, including the wife, parents and brother of the deceased, police personnel attached to Paramakudi town and Emaneswaram police stations, and doctors who conducted the post mortem.

“The deceased appears to have died due to multiple injuries,” the Magistrate said citing the post mortem report, but refrained from naming the personnel who caused the injuries. She suggested that a separate enquiry be conducted to identify the policemen responsible for the death.

Magistrate Revathy, who conducted the enquiry on the orders of the Chief Judicial Magistrate here, submitted her over 150-page report to Principal District Judge W.Sathasivam on April 26, 2013.

The judge forwarded the report to the Collector, who is also the District Magistrate, more than a month ago for further action.

The police case was that Sub-Inspector of Police Muniasamy and head constable Gnanasekaran were on night patrol, when they found the deceased moving around in the bazaar area in Paramakudi in the early hours of October 3, 2012. When they tried to catch him after a chase, the deceased brandished a knife and attempted to stab Muniasamy and Gnanasekaran.

The policemen, however, overpowered him and brought him to the Paramakudi town police station at around 5 a.m. The suspect was then moved to the Emaneswaram police station and secured in a lock-up. Quoting witnesses, the Judicial Magistrate said the deceased was later taken from the lock- up to the first floor, where he was allegedly beaten and kicked by SI Arumuga Nainar.

After Venkatesan complained of discomfort, he was taken to the Paramakudi Government Hospital at around 12.30 p.m. The duty doctor examined him at 1.15 p.m. and declared him dead at 1.18 p.m., the Magistrate said.

Divya, wife of the deceased, his parents and brother, in their complaints, alleged that Venkatesan was beaten to death by the police at Emaneswaram police station.

Divya in her testimony said her husband had gone to Paramakudi on October 1, 2012 to appear before the Judicial Magistrate in connection with a case.

He called her over phone the next day at 4 p.m., stating that he had some work.

On October 3, she tried to contact him over his mobile repeatedly, but could not reach him, she said.

Superintendent of Police N.M.Mylvahanan, when contacted, said SIs Muniasamy and Arumuga Nainar, along with constables, were placed under suspension during the enquiry. The suspension has been revoked after the Magistrate submitted her report. “Further action will be taken based on government order,” he told The Hindu .