Tamil Nadu government has decided to transfer the probe into the custodial death of father-son Duo, Jayaraj and J Beniks, to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
CBI will now be taking over the case and the decision will be conveyed to the Madras High Court in the next hearing, Tamil Nadu CM Palaniswami said.
"Jayaraj and his son Beniks were running a cellphone shop in Thoothukudi. They were arrested after an altercation over shutting the shop during lockdown period and were sent to prison. Jeyaraj and Beniks died at Kovilpatti hospital later," CM Edapadi K Palaniswami said.
Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court took suo moto cognisance of the case, Palaniswami said.
"The Government has decided to transfer the case to CBI. The decision will be conveyed to the court in the next hearing, we will acquire the court’s permission and transfer the case to CBI," Palaniswami added.
Jayaraj’s daughter said that they are waiting to see what’s going to happen in court on Tuesday. She said the judge has not recorded their statement yet and added that they are waiting for the same.
Jayaraj's son-in-law, Ponshekar, said that the family is satisfied with magistrate groundwork as of now and is hoping for a favourable verdict on Tuesday.
"Looking at the groundwork, it is going well now. They are taking it seriously. We don't want to divert anything. Let the court decide what to do next. We are waiting for that and we hope that we will get a good verdict on Tuesday," Ponshekar said .
DMK chief MK Stalin took to Twitter over the case being transferred to CBI and said, "The case has finally been transferred to CBI after pressure from the public, political parties and media".
On June 19, P Jayaraj (59) and his son J Beniks (31) were picked up for questioning by the Tamil Nadu Police in Tuticorin's Sathankulam for allegedly violating lockdown rules. As per the police, the duo was held for keeping their mobile accessories shop beyond permissible hours on June 19. An FIR was filed against the two on June 19.
They were allegedly brutally thrashed by the police while in custody, leading to their deaths.
While Fenix fell ill and died at the Kovilpatti General Hospital on June 22, his father died on the morning of June 23.
Quoting eyewitnesses, a Chennai-based news site The Federal said that Jayaraj and his son were allegedly sodomised in police custody. "Between 7 am and 12 pm on June 20, the father and son had changed at least seven lungies (waistcloth) each as they had become wet due to blood oozing from their rectums," The Federal quoted a friend of Benik's as saying. The friend also said the father-son duo came out of prison in a dishevelled state with torn and bloodied clothes. Beniks' friend, who was also were present in the police station when the police rounded them up, told the news outlet that for three hours, they heard only screams and cries of Jayaraj and Beniks.
Records obtained from the Kovilpatti sub-jail hospital reveal that Jayaraj and Beniks had multiple marks on the gluteal region that is located at the posterior of the pelvic girdle. In J Beniks' case, hospital records revealed that his knee caps were pressed. At the same time, the records say that Jayaraj was suffering from diabetes.
Ever since the news of the deaths first broke, the district of Tuticorin has seen widespread turmoil and protests have broken out in several parts of Tamil Nadu. Across the state several trader union bodies, political outfits, activists, have staged protests against the death of the duo. In Tuticorin, traders downed shutters, protests were held throughout the week.
Celebrities, too, have taken to social media demanding that action be taken against those involved in the death of the duo.