Chennai: With the custodial deaths in Tuticorin still fresh in people’s memories, another incident of police brutality in Tamil Nadu has claimed a man’s life.

Policeman identified as G Bensam, serving in Puzhal police station in Chennai, was suspended after the victim set himself ablaze after being beaten up.

The victim set himself ablaze and later was rushed to a hospital with more than 80% burns. On Sunday (August 2) he succumbed to his injuries.

As per reports, the deceased Srinivasan was a poor painter who worked on a contract basis and was residing at Vinayagapuram. Due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown, Srinivasan had no job. And with no money, he was not able to pay his house rent.

The landlord Rajendran, who is politically connected, lodged a complaint against Sriniavasan at Puzhal police station. The police sub inspector Bensam forcefully entered Srinivasan’s house and thrashed him.

Following this physical assault from the policeman, the man set himself on fire on Saturday night at 11 pm.

In a video made by the victim’s brother, Srinivasan, from the hospital bed, said he was assaulted by the cop at around 7 pm.

"The landlord brought the police inspector to my house and they both threatened me to pay the rent after which the inspector attacked me,” the victim was quoted as saying.

However, when the video was being made, it is reported that the family was  interrupted by a policeman who tried to chase Ganesan out of the hospital room.

Police officials defended the cop by saying that he did not assault Sriniavasan but he was suspended due to his involvement in another case.

"On the request of the landlord, the police team went to his house and Srinivasan was drunk. So, police asked him to come to the police station on Sunday morning. They did not beat him. We suspended Bensam on the basis that he intervened in a civil dispute without following proper procedure," a police officer was quoted as saying.

The cop Bensam was suspended earlier too. Back then, Bensam was caught harassing a woman. As per reports, in July 2018, Bensam was suspended for pulling down his pants when he was on a Whatsapp video call with the woman. He was booked under relevant charges including Tamil Nadu Prohibition of  Women Harassment (TNPWH) Act.

He was serving as the inspector of Karungal police station in Kanyakumari during the time.