Family members and people of Sempatti village near Aruppukottai blocked roads at two places here on Wednesday alleging custodial death of one T. Thangapandian (32), who was picked up by Aruppukottai Town police for an inquiry in connection with an attempt to steal from a house at MDR Nagar here on Tuesday morning.
A senior police officer claimed that since the man was found to be mentally unstable, he was handed over to the family at around 10.30 a.m. after being officially bound over under the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
The family members alleged that local people caught him as he was found inside the compound wall of the house of one N. Soundarapandian (40) in the early hours of Tuesday. He was handed over to Aruppukottai Town police.
However, after letting off Thangapandian, the family members alleged, the police again took him into custody as people of MDR Nagar mounted pressure on the Chairman of Aruppukottai Municipality seeking proper action against the accused.
The concern of MDR Nagar people was that an elderly couple were murdered by robbers who had decamped with valuables from their house in July.
The police denied the allegations and claimed that the family members took him to a private hospital from where he was referred to the government hospital. He was later declared dead.
Deputy Inspector General of Police (Madurai Range) R. Ponni and Superintendent of Police M. Manohar held talks with the family members. Alleging that the police were trying to force them to take the body for final rites, they insisted on the conduct of a post-mortem alleging that Thangapandian died only because of police excess.
Meanwhile, the police have registered a case under Section 176 (1) (A) and a judicial enquiry by a magistrate has been ordered.
An official in the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police from outside Aruppukottai had been asked to conduct a parallel inquiry, said an officer.