Robbery suspect dies in police custody in Chennai

The protesters also stoned the building amid sloganeering and they were then reined in by the use of mild force.

Chennai: A 21-year-old fish vendor, suspected of robbing a techie in Thuraipakkam, could not be resuscitated after he swooned during interrogation by the Kannagi Nagar Police on Wednesday.

The deceased — identified as Karthik alias ‘Meen’ Karthik, resident of a slum clearance board tenement in Chinthadripet, was picked up along with his friend and neighbour, Arunachalam (21), by Thuraipakkam Police on Monday afternoon. A joint-team from Thuraipakkam Police and Kannagi Nagar Police questioned the duo for their alleged role in three robberies, reported on Sunday in the southern suburbs.

At around 9.30 am, Karthik felt giddy, and was rushed to a private hospital in Kannagi Nagar, where the doctors advised the cops to move him to a Super Specialty Hospital for intensive care. Karthik was subsequently admitted to one such hospital where efforts to resuscitate him failed. At around 11.30 am, a cop from Kannagi Nagar conveyed the 'death' message to the family in person.

Subsequently, the cops whisked the family of the deceased away to a different location away from the media glare. As the news trickled out to the Kannagi Nagar residents, they began blaming the cops for having beaten the youth to death.

Tense moments prevailed through the day while ACP level officers kept brokering peace with the crowd from Kannagi Nagar that had thronged the police station seeking justice. At around 4.30 pm, the angry mob threw petrol filled bottles at the police station and the unlit bottles broke with a loud noise escalating the tension further.

The protesters also stoned the building amid sloganeering and they were then reined in by the use of mild force. The body of the custodial death victim was moved from the private hospital to the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital, where a post-mortem is likely to be conducted on Thursday.

Following the incident, the top brass of the City Police took stock of the situation and directed JCP (south) T.S. Anbu to inquire into the incident. Preliminary investigations by the top cop revealed procedural lapses in custodial interrogation.

Two police personnel, Bakyaraj, sub-inspector attached to Kannagi Nagar Police and Vijayakumar, head constable attached to Thuraipakkam Police, were placed under suspension.

Mother of second suspect witnessed police torture

Kavitha, mother of Arunachalam who was picked up along with Karthik, claimed that she was kept in the dark about the detention of her son. The woman wanted to know about the health condition of her son whom she had seen being tortured at Kannagi Nagar Police station.

"My son and Karthik went to a wedding in Kannagi Nagar on Sunday. They rode back in a bike on Monday claiming that they had to pick up a mobile phone, which they had left behind in his aunt's house there. He was taken into custody then itself, which we came to know only on Tuesday afternoon through a relative when the cops had come looking for our neighbour. If they had committed any offence, the cops should have remanded them in prison instead of resorting to such third degree treatment," she told DC.

The woman said that she was made to run from pillar to post after she witnessed her son and his friend being subjected to custodial torture. She saw them being taken away in a police vehicle on Tuesday night and her son asked her to wait in the station itself.

After waiting till midnight, the woman enquired of the sentry who informed her that her son might not be brought back to the station that night as he was being interrogated in Thuraipakkam Police station. She checked with Thuraipakkam Police who suggested she go to Tiruvanmiyur Police and was chased away from there as well. She returned home during the small hours of Wednesday.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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