Sathankulam deaths: Petition filed against TN CM EPS! Is his govt under pressure?

The Tamil Nadu based advocate has filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in the Supreme Court to seek its directive to constrain Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami from holding the charge of the state's home department till the probe into the custodial deaths of Jayaraj and Bennicks in Sathankulam, Thoothukudi comes to an end. 

The petition has been moved to the apex court against the Chief Minister at the high time when the probe has been taken over by the CBCID police under the direction of the Madras High Court. According to the reports, the plea has been filed by Advocate Rajarajan who is a native of the Cuddalore district. 

In his petition, he also sought the direction from the Supreme court to the probing CBCID agency to investigate the role of Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami in shielding the police officers who are accused in the case of the custodial deaths. The petitioner said that the Chief Minister issued a statement claiming that the father and son duo were died due to health issues and not due to the police torture.

The petitioner said that the Chief Minister's statement, which the latter issued on June 24, is improper and contrary to law as the probe wasn't launched to ascertain the cause of their deaths and the Chief Minister has maintained that they died of health issues when the inquiry was at the initial stage. 

The advocate further stated that the Chief Minister has issued such a statement with the view of safeguarding the police officers from the probe and to avoid having any intense or negative developments against the government and the police department, which comes under the home department held by him. 

By citing that the CBCID probing team has arrested five police officers responsible for the death of Jayaraj and Bennicks, the petitioner stated that the Chief Minister has acted contrary to the law after claiming that the duo had died due to health issues and probe won't have a free, fair, and transparent investigation into the custodial deaths if he continues to hold the state's home department. 

According to the reports, the CBCID team took the probe on Tuesday and so far it has apprehended five police officers of Sathankulam in connection to the case. All five officers have been remanded under judicial custody and an FIR has been booked against them under section 302- murder, 342- punishment for wrongful confinement, and 201 - causing disappearance of evidence under the Indian Penal code.

The Madras High Court Madurai Bench has taken the case under suo motu cognizance and the National and State Human Rights Commissions have issued notice to the Tamil Nadu police department to disclose its report on the custodial deaths, which spotlighted police brutality in India. 

Also read: Sathankulam custodial deaths: Absconded cop Muthuraj detained and taken under custody!