A 44-year-old man accused of attempting to snatch a mobile phone from a devotee died in police custody at Samayapuram station near here on Monday.
The deceased, identified as A. Muruganantham, hailed from Oriyur in neighbouring Ariyalur district. According to police, the man had ended his life in the bathroom in the police station.
Police sources said Muruganantham was caught by public after he allegedly attempted to snatch a mobile phone from a devotee at the Mariamman Temple in Samayapuram. He was handed over to the private security staff of the temple who, in turn, handed him over to the Samayapuram police station in the morning.
The sources said the duty police personnel at the station had conducted enquiries with Muruganantham initially and thereafter asked him to remain in the station. Muruganantham had reportedly gone to the toilet a couple of times and returned. He had gone to the toilet for the third time and did not return for a long time.
The police personnel said on suspicion they peeped through the window and later broke open the door to find Muruganantham dead inside. Superintendent of Police, Tiruchi, Sujit Kumar visited the Samayapuram police station and conducted enquiries. The body was moved to the Tiruchi Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Government Hospital for post mortem in the presence of Manachanallur Tahsildar. Forensic experts also inspected the police station.
The sources said the SP inspected the video footage of the CCTV cameras in the station. Mr. Sujit Kumar said prima facie it appeared to be a case of suicide. The case would be probed by the Crime Branch CID, he said.
The Samayapuram police have registered a case under Section 176 of the Code of Criminal Procedure since it was a case of custodial death, Mr. Sujit Kumar said.
Police sources said a case had been booked against Muruganantham for allegedly murdering his mother last year.
Assistance for overcoming suicidal thoughts is available on the State’s health helpline 104 and Sneha’s suicide prevention helpline 044-24640050.