J. Balaji

Police claimed that it opened fire in self-defence

Probe says police opened fire with intention to kill

NEW DELHI: The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has directed the Tamil Nadu government to pay a relief of Rs. 3 lakh to the family of Suresh alias Sura of Vyasarpadi here, who it found was killed by the police in a fake encounter on Ibrahim Street, Clive Battery, in Chennai on the night of November 18, 2002.

The State government should send the compliance report with proof of payment to the NHRC within eight weeks. Suresh’s mother in her complaint to the NHRC alleged that her son was picked up from the house on November 13, 2002, and killed in a fake encounter. But the police said Suresh was a habitual offender involved in many criminal cases. On the night of the incident, when they tried to stop his motorcycle, he did not heed their signals. Instead, he attacked a Sub-Inspector with a knife and threw a bomb at the police party.

The Additional District Magistrate (Additional Collector), Chennai, who probed the incident, observed that the police had tried to exaggerate the injuries sustained by the Sub-Inspector and there was no proof of any bomb blast at the spot. He concluded that the police had fired at Suresh with an intention to kill him.

The NHRC then issued a show cause notice to the Tamil Nadu government. The government submitted that departmental action against the delinquent cops had been initiated and that it was considering sanctioning Rs.1 lakh as relief to the family of the deceased.

The Commission observed that Suresh might have had criminal antecedents, but that could not be a justification to eliminate him. His dependants deserved to be adequately compensated in financial terms. The NHRC hiked the relief to Rs.3 lakh.

Narrating the incident, the then Chennai Police Commissioner, K. Vijay Kumar, had said a special patrol team was conducting a vehicle check near the Mint Junction when the accused sped away on a motorcycle. Following a wireless, two Sub-Inspectors gave chase and cornered him near the Clive Battery junction. The suspect dashed his two-wheeler against a parked vehicle and fell.

“On seeing the police personnel, he threw a country bomb and then attacked them with a knife. One of the personnel suffered cut injuries and has been admitted to hospital,” Mr. Vijay Kumar had claimed. He added that “the police personnel opened fire in self-defence as the accused wanted to hurl another country bomb. Gelatin sticks, detonators, a country bomb-like object and a cellular phone were seized from him.”