By- Shreeya Shukla

The police are not cooperating with the probe into custodial death as well as alleged torture of father-and-son duo P Jayaraj & J Bennicks, the Madurai bench of  Madras high court on Monday observed, ordering the Thoothukudi collector to depute the revenue officials to take the control & preserve the evidence in the police station where the alleged crime took place last week.

In order, the court also directed the forensic experts to assist in process of the evidence collection at the Sathankulam police station & said that it will not interfere with the Tamil Nadu government’s decision to transfer the case to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

Late in the evening, the state government formally transferred the case to the federal agency following the court’s order that it was a policy decision of the government. A notification by the government stated the CBI would “facilitate the free & fair investigation”.

The order of the court came after it received the email report from Kovilpatti judicial magistrate Barathidasan. “A reading of [report] clearly shows, the district police administration is doing everything within their command to prevent the learned magistrate from the proceeding with the inquiry,” the bench comprising of justices PN Prakash & B Pugalendhi said in the order.

The court initiated the contempt case against 3 of the officials —

  1. additional deputy superintendent of police D Kumar,
  2. deputy superintendent of police C Prathapan and
  3. constable Maharajan.

The accused of obstructing the investigations & making an abusive remark against the magistrate, they were asked to appear before the court at 10.30 am on Tuesday. The court was of the view that the investigation will not be free as well as fair unless they are transferred.

“The policemen were not giving records called for by learned magistrate & it is seen that one of them, i.e., Maharajan, police constable, Sathankulam police station, had made a disparaging mark in Tamil to a learned magistrate,” read the court order.

Last week, the bench took the suo-moto cognizance of the case that sparked nationwide outrage.

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