The Madras High Court Bench here has accepted the State Government's submission that it has closed as ‘not proved' the disciplinary proceedings initiated against Madurai Commissioner of Police P. Kannappan in connection with registration of a false case against two individuals on charges of raping and murdering a minor girl who was found to be alive after nine years.
The incident had occurred when Mr. Kannappan served as Ramanathapuram Superintendent of Police. The disciplinary proceedings for major penalty were initiated against him pursuant to a report submitted by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which enquired into the matter on the basis of court orders passed in November 2007, to the State Government recommending action against erring policemen.
The CBI had recommended disciplinary action for major penalty against a Deputy Superintendent of Police G. M. Sundaram; two Inspectors of police Madhavan and Bhaskaran; Sub-Inspector of Police Dasaratharaja, head constables Rajamani and Samidurai. In so far as Mr. Kannappan was concerned, the CBI left it to the discretion of the State Government without specifying the kind of action to be taken against him.
Nevertheless, the Government initiated disciplinary proceeding against him too and closed it on January 25 on the ground that the inquiring authority found the charges as not proved. It did not proceed against Mr. Sundaram as more than four years had elapsed since he retired from service. The proceedings against the rest of the five policemen were under way.
The government also submitted before the court that it had taken steps to recover a compensation of Rs. 2 lakh paid by it to the two individuals, who were brutally beaten up and made to confess to a crime that did not take place at all, from the five policemen at the rate of Rs. 40,000 each. After recording the submissions, Justice C.T. Selvam closed the case on the premise that the court directions had been fully complied with.
The directions for a CBI enquiry and payment of compensation to the victims — S. Krishnamoorthy and K. Palani — were passed by Justice A. Selvam on November 20, 2007. Disposing of a case filed by the duo, the judge had come down heavily on the police for malicious prosecution of the petitioners who, according to him, were driven to the “zenith of melancholy.”
“The interrogation and investigation of a crime should be in a true sense purposeful to make the investigation effective. By torturing a person and using third degree methods, the police would be accomplishing behind the closed doors what the demands of our legal order forbid. No society can permit it,” the judge had said.
An individual named K. Sevugan of S.P. Pattanam in Ramanathapuram district had lodged a complaint with the local police on April 26, 1997, alleging that a co-villager, Karmegam, had kidnapped his 12-year-old daughter S. Sujatha. Accordingly, a case was registered under Section 366A (procreation of minor girl) of the Indian Penal Code.
Karmegam supposedly confessed that he committed the crime along with S. Krishnamoorthy and K. Palani (petitioners before the Bench). The police also managed to obtain a similar confession from Mr. Krishnamoorthy. In the meantime, the case was transferred to the Crime Branch-CID, which investigated the case on the same lines and filed a charge sheet against all three persons in 2002.
In 2006, the girl, who was allegedly raped and set on fire, appeared before a Sessions Court here and deposed that she was kidnapped by Karmegam alone and the other two persons were innocent.