Tamil Nadu

HC initiates contempt proceedings against 3 policemen in Sattankulam

Taking a serious view of police personnel attached to the Sattankulam station not cooperating with the Judicial Magistrate, Kovilpatti, in connection with the inquiry into the alleged custodial torture and deaths of traders P. Jayaraj and J. Benicks, the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court on Monday initiated suo motu criminal contempt proceedings against two senior police officers and a constable.

Separately, in view of the non-cooperation by the police during the hearing of the case, the court also directed the Thoothukudi Collector to depute Revenue Department officials to take control of the Sattankulam police station for the purpose of preserving clue materials in the case.

Taking cognisance of the e-mail received from the Judicial Magistrate, a Division Bench of Justices P.N. Prakash and B. Pugalendhi initiated suo motu criminal contempt proceedings against Additional Superintendent of Police D. Kumar, Deputy Superintendent of Police C. Prathapan and police constable Maharajan, and directed them to appear before it on Tuesday. It also recommended their transfers. “We are of the view that unless the State government intervenes immediately to transfer the Additional Superintendent of Police, the Deputy Superintendent of Police and other policemen in Sattankulam police station, it will be very difficult for [conducting] a free and fair investigation and inquiry,” the court observed.

The policemen at the Sattankulam station had not provided the records sought by the Judicial Magistrate. Constable Maharajan allegedly made a disparaging remark to the magistrate in Tamil, implying that the latter “cannot do anything”.

The court observed that the district police administration was doing everything possible to prevent the magistrate from going ahead with the inquiry.

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Printable version | Oct 23, 2021 2:53:27 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/hc-initiates-contempt-proceedings-against-3-policemen-in-sattankulam/article31949144.ece

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