Trader father-son Jayaraj and Bennix Credit: Twitter image

A chargesheet has been filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) against nine police officials in connection with the alleged custodial deaths of a father-son duo, Jayaraj and Bennix. The father-son duo lost their lives due to the alleged torture by police personnel in Thoothukudi district of Tamil Nadu this year.

During the investigation, the police personnel were arrested and are currently in judicial custody. This is with the exception of Special Sub Inspector (SSI) Pauldurai, who died of COVID-19 on August 10.

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Earlier on July 7, the CBI had filed two FIRs in the matter and had taken over the case on July 8. This came after an order by the Tamil Nadu government on June 29 which transferred the custodial death case to the central body.

On the ill-fated day of June 19, P Jayaraj aged 59, and his son J Bennix aged 31 were arrested by the police who alleged that they had kept their shops open even after the stated lockdown hours. The police officials also alleged that the duo assaulted them and also few volunteers from the Friends of Police (FoP) organisation.

After the arrest, the duo was remanded to judicial custody in the Kovilpatti sub-jail and Bennix died on June 22 and Jayaraj died on June 23 due to the alleged torture meted out to the duo. Their family also alleged that the father-son duo had severe internal and external injuries.

The custodial deaths of the duo had sparked massive outrage over police brutality. This also snowballed into a major political row that involved calls for law enforcement reform. Tamil Nadu’s opposition DMK targeted the AIADMK government, accusing it of allowing policemen of taking “law into their own hands.”

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