Tuticorin custodial deaths case: Seven-member CBI team takes over CB-CID probe

Tuticorin: The CBI on Friday formally took over the probe in the Tuticorin custodial deaths of father-son duo P Jeyaraj (58) and J Fenix (31). A seven-member team led by additional superintendent of police VK Shukla from Delhi reached Tuticorin on Friday and received the papers from the CB-CID that probed the case as an interim measure on the directions of the Madurai bench of the Madras high court on June 30.

Traders Jeyaraj and Fenix, who ran a mobile shop near the Sathankulam old bus stand, were allegedly tortured by the Sathankulam Police in the station over a trivial issue in the night hours of June 19. They were lodged in the Kovilpatti sub-jail under judicial custody the next day. On June 22, Fenix was rushed to the Kovilpatti government hospital late in the evening, but he died the same night.

Jeyaraj, who was taken ill to the same hospital died the next morning. Kovilpatti judicial magistrate MS Bharathidhasan began an inquest into the deaths, throwing light into flaws on the part of the Sathankulam Police. Amidst huge cry over the brutality unleashed on the duo that left them bleeding and also led to their death, the Madurai bench of the Madras high court took suo motu cognisance of the issue on June 24.

The state government wrote to the centre for a CBI probe in the incident. The CB-CID arrested 10 police personnel including the inspector and two sub inspectors. Eight of them were remanded to the Madurai Central Prison and two others undergoing treatment will be remanded soon after they are discharged.

Meanwhile, the court on Thursday directed the CB-CID to submit a status report on their probe with regard to action taken in the case in a sealed cover on July 28, which the CB-CID would do even though the CBI has taken over the probe. Talking to reporters on Friday, CB-CID IG K Shankar said that they will hand over the voluminous evidence and witness statements recorded by them to the CBI.

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