Inspector, AIADMK functionary booked for murder

This is the third case of death due to alleged police atrocity in the Sattankulam region

An inspector at the Thattarmadam police station in the Sattankulam police sub division of Thoothukudi district and a ruling AIADMK functionary have been booked, among others, on the charge of abducting and murdering S. Selvan, 30, on Thursday due to a land dispute. The incident of alleged police atrocity comes close on the heels of the recent custodial deaths of trader P. Jayaraj and his son J. Benicks at Sattankulam.

The victim’s mother, Elizabeth, 77, has alleged that inspector Harikrishnan had in the past got multiple false cases registered against Selvan, and her other sons Panguraj alias Rajan and Peter Raja and beaten them up. The family had then approached the State Human Rights Commission and the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court for relief.

Mr. Harikrishnan has been cited as the first accused in the abduction-cum-murder case, registered in the Thisaiyanvilai police station in neighbouring Tirunelveli district, on a complaint from Ms. Elizabeth. AIADMK functionary M. Thirumanavel of Usaraththukudiyiruppu and a few others have also been arraigned as accused.

The police said Mr. Thirumanavel had allegedly encroached upon 1.75 acres belonging to Selvan’s family after buying an adjacent plot from his uncles in 2019. Selvan’s family had resisted the alleged pressure from the AIADMK functionary to sell their property.

Ms. Elizabeth said that following the dispute, Mr. Thirumanavel got false cases registered through Mr. Harikrishnan. She said her son Peter Raja’s complaint that the land was used to illegally make country-bombs was not entertained. Instead, her sons were booked.

When Selvan, who deals in packaged drinking water, was returning home on Thursday afternoon, a speeding car hit his two-wheeler at Kozhunthattu near Chokkankudiyiruppu. As Selvan fell down, the occupants of the car abducted him. After a couple of hours, Selvan’s body was found in a forest area close to Kadakulam. It was taken to the Thisaiyanvilai Government Hospital by passers-by who thought he was alive. However, the doctors there declared Selvan “brought dead”.

On information, Godwin Jagadeesh, Deputy Superintendent of Police, Sattankulam, and Mr. Harikrishnan went to the spot and conducted an inquiry with Selvan’s family members, who accused Mr. Harikrishnan of being the brain behind the murder. Subsequently, the police booked the accused under Sections 107 (conspiracy), 336 (acting rashly or negligently endangering human life), 302 (culpable homicide by causing death of a person) and 364 (kidnapping or abducting any person in order that such person may be murdered) of the Indian Penal Code. Since the scene of crime falls under the Thattarmadam police station, the case will soon be transferred by the Thisaiyanvilai police to their Thattarmadam counterparts.

“We have formed special teams to nab the accused,” said N. Manivannan, Superintendent of Police, Tirunelveli.

The police indicated that any action against Mr. Harikrishnan would be based on the statements of the co-accused.

Ms. Elizabeth alleged that on January 19, Mr. Thirumanavel and his supporters thrashed her son Panguraj, who was admitted to the Tirunelveli Government Medical College Hospital. She said Mr. Harikrishnan got him discharged and took him to the police station where he was hung upside down from the ceiling and thrashed.

“Even after my son filed a complaint with the State Human Rights Commission, Harikrishnan’s torture continued, forcing my sons to approach the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court explaining the threats they were facing from the police officer, while seeking anticipatory bail. Enraged, Harikrishnan has orchestrated the murder of Selvan with the help of Thirumanavel,” she said in her complaint to the Thisaiyanvilai police. Ms. Elizabeth said her son’s body bore grievous injuries all over.

This is the third murder case to be registered against the police in the Sattankulam Police Sub-Division after the deaths of Jayaraj and Benicks and construction worker Mahendran of Srivenkateswarapuram near Peikulam, both under the Sattankulam police station.

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