DGP C. Sylendra Babu has transferred the probe to the Crime Branch-CID on a recommendation from the government-appointed inquiry officer, P. Amudha, IAS, in her interim report. The case which was initially handled by the local police was then taken over by the Tirunelveli District Crime Branch.
Meanwhile, the First Information Report filed by Deputy Superintendent of Police, Crime Branch, Tirunelveli, Pon. Raghu, details the alleged torture three youth underwent at the hands of suspended ASP of Ambasamudram Balveer Singh and his team after they were picked-up in connection with a group clash.
Recalling the start of his life-threatening agony, E. Subhash of Dhanasekaran Nagar near KTC Nagar on Palayamkottai outskirts had told the police he was working as the ‘collection agent’ of a Thoothukudi-based private finance firm.
His friends Lakshmi Shankar and Venkatesh, both from Kallidaikurichi, had rivalry with another person also named Venkatesh from South Paappaankulam near Kallidaikurichi over money-lending. The rivalry led to clash at Thalaiseri near Kallidaikurichi on March 22. Following this Venkatesh of South Paappaankulam filed a complaint with Kallidaikurichi police.
Lakshmi Shankar and Venkatesh stayed over at the house of Subhash that night. On the next day, police constables Bashir, Esakki and another person took them in a private car to Kallidaikurichi police station for interrogation. Mr. Balveer Singh also reached the Kallidaikurichi police station around 10 a.m.
“The ASP asked us to remove our dress except the undergarment. Then he asked the policemen to bring us to the first floor of the police station, where Mr. Balveer Singh, special branch constable Rajkumar, writer Sudalai, constables Vignesh, Sadam, Bashir, Esakki and another constable were waiting. Mr. Singh took a cutting plier from a box, which Sadam had brought, and uprooted a tooth from the upper jaw of Lakshmi Shankar. While he was bleeding profusely, the ASP landed a blow with the ‘lathi’ on him. Writer Sudalai spread papers on the floor so that the blood does not stain the floor,” Mr. Subhash alleged.
When the ASP asked Subhash to open his mouth, he panicked and tried to stop the police officer from coming closer to him. “Immediately, Rajkumar threatened me not to touch the IPS officer. The latter immediately pulled out three teeth from my lower right jaw. Even though he knew I may die of pain, he uprooted the tooth and a few more teeth became loose. Again, Sudalai, who was laughing at us, spread the papers on the floor,” he said.
When Venkatesh fell at the ASP’s feet, the police officer allegedly caught hold of his ear lobe with the cutting plier. As he did not open his mouth, the ASP threatened that I and Lakshmi Shankar would undergo one more round of uprooting of teeth if Venkatesh does not open his mouth. We begged our friend to open his mouth and the ASP uprooted three teeth from his lower jaw and landed three blows on him with a ‘lathi’ while Sudalai was spreading the papers again on the floor,” Subash narrated.
After abusing and threatening them, the police asked them to go to the bathroom to wash their mouth. They were also asked to clean the blood stains on the floor.
Around 10.45 a.m., Inspector of Police of Kallidaikurichi police station Rajakumari gave a few pills and offered them soft drinks and new clothes.
“Ms. Rajakumari then took us to Tirunelveli Medical College Hospital around 4 p.m. where we were admitted in ward 52 and shifted to another ward around 7 a.m. on the next day (March 24). On her insistence, we told the doctor to discharge us and we were left around 3 p.m.,” Subahsh said.
After that they were taken to Kallidaikurichi in the police jeep by Ms. Rajakumari and a special team police constable and were shifted to another car when they reached Karambai around 4.30 p.m. At the Tana – Ambur Road, government pleader Thirumalaikumar and his lawyer assistant Ganesan and another advocate, Subash’s wife Sangeetha, Venkatesh’s wife and his mother and DMK union chairman Bharani Sekar’s son Pandi were waiting for them in a car.
While the victims were taken in the advocate’s car, the family members were asked to get into the car in which the trio was travelling earlier. On reaching a lodge in Papanasam around 6.45 p.m., Ganesan and another advocate took them to Senaithalaivar Mandapam in Papanasam in the night.
“They obtained signatures from us and our family members on documents claiming we had sustained injuries after falling from the vehicle. When Ms. Rajakumari was preparing these fake documents, Mr. Thirumalaikumar, Sub-Inspector Abraham Joseph and a few policemen were present. After warning us that we should not share the custodial torture with anyone, we were asked to leave the place around 12.30 a.m. on March 25. Besides telling us to come to the Kallidaikurichi police station on March 25 on getting the call from the police, we were also warned that we should not be in our place for a week. Else, we will be detained under the Goondas Act,” they warned.
The three were summoned to the Manimuthar police canteen around 1 p.m. on March 25 and allegedly given Rs. 30,000 each by advocate Thirumalaikumar, Ms. Rajakumari and Mr. Abraham Joseph, which was videographed by special branch constable Rajkumar. “We were again warned that we would be booked under Goondas Act if we spoke about this,” he said.
“After remaining silent for two days, I decided to file the complaint against the ASP and others even as a few more victims started coming forward to file complaints. The dentist, who removed one more loosened tooth, has told me that 14 teeth have to be planted. Since the torture by the ASP and his team has caused permanent deformity and they tried to murder us, due legal action should be initiated against them even though we’re still facing threat from the police,” Mr. Subhash prayed.
Acting on the complaint, a case has been registered under Sections 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 324 (voluntarily causing hurt with dangerous weapon), 326 (voluntarily causing dangerous hurt with dangerous weapon) and 506 (1) (criminal intimidation) of Indian Penal Code.