Tamil Nadu

Death for girl’s brother in inter-caste couple killing

Inter-caste couple S. Murugesan and D. Kannagi were killed at Vriddhachalam in 2003. Photo: Special Arrangement  

The Special Court for SC/ST Act cases here on Friday awarded the death sentence to the brother of a caste Hindu girl and sentenced 12 others, including her father, to life imprisonment in the killing of inter-caste couple S. Murugesan and D. Kannagi at Vriddhachalam in 2003.

Murugesan, 25, a chemical engineering graduate belonging to a Scheduled Caste community, and Kannagi, 22, a commerce graduate hailing from a Vanniyar family, were residents of Puthukooraipettai. They fell in love while studying at Annamalai University. They secretly got married and registered their marriage on May 5, 2003, at Cuddalore. Angered by this, Kannagi’s family launched a hunt for them. On July 7 that year, they traced the couple, abducted them and forced them to drink poison in the early hours of July 8. The bodies were burnt in the presence of over 300 people.

Delivering the verdict in the case, which was eventually probed by the CBI, Judge S. Uthamaraj said the double-murder was “brutal and against humanity”. The punishment would act as a warning to those practising caste-based hatred.

The court awarded the death sentence to the second accused and Kannagi’s brother Marudhupandian and life imprisonment to her father C. Duraiswami and 11 others, including policemen Chellamuthu (since retired) and Tamil Maran, Inspector of Police (since suspended), who served at the Virudhachalam station. The others convicted were Rangasamy, Kandavelu, Jothi, Venkatesan, Mani, Dhanavel, Anjapuli, Ramdoss and Chinnadurai.

The death sentence would be executed subject to the mandatory confirmation by the Madras High Court.

The CBI filed a 690-page chargesheet in the trial court in 2009, invoking the provisions of the Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities Act), 1989. Two other accused, Ayyasamy and Gunasekaran, were acquitted. As many as 81 witnesses were examined, and 36 turned hostile.

Senior IPS officer A.K. Viswanathan (now Additional Director-General of Police) was then heading the Special Crime Branch-CBI, as Deputy Inspector-General of Police, which reinvestigated the case thoroughly and brought the culprits to book. Investigation Officer and Deputy Superintendent of Police(since retired) Nandakumar Nair told The Hindu that the investigation team faced many challenges. “It was very difficult to investigate, examine the witnesses and convince them [to depose],” he said.

(With inputs from R. Sivaraman)

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Printable version | Oct 24, 2021 9:53:25 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/death-for-girls-brother-in-inter-caste-couple-killing/article36660285.ece

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