TN Father-son Duo, Killed in Police Custody, Was Tortured for Over 7 Hours, Reveals CBI Chargesheet

Poornima Murali
·2 min read

The CBI chargesheet filed against the accused police officers involved in the death of father-son Jayaraj and Bennicks in Thoothukudi, Tamil Nadu, said that material evidence collected from the police station established that “brutal torture” was inflicted upon them.

“It is evident from the expert opinion of CFSL, New Delhi that the blood available on the material objects seized from the police station Sathankulam i.e. wooden lathi used by the accused persons for brutal torture of both the deceased and the bloodstains exhibits collected from the walls of PS Sathankulam by FSL during judicial inquiry contain the blood of the deceased Benniks and Jeyaraj on the same. Thus, the fact that deceased Bennicks and Jeyaraj were subjected to brutal torture by the accused police officials in the evening of 19.06.2020 and the intervening night of 19.06.2020 in the police station Sathankulam, stands established,” read the chargesheet.

The chargesheet added that both Jeyaraj and Bennicks were tortured inside the police station between 7:45 pm on June 9 and 3 am the next day. As per the CBI investigation, they were subjected to several rounds of beatings.

Detailing the methods of torture, the chargesheet read: “Process of brutal torture of the deceased Bennicks and his father continued for hours together within the closed premises of police station Sathankulam and all through this, accused inspector S Sridhar has been repeatedly instigating the accused police officers to beat Jeyaraj and Bennicks even more severely."

The chargesheet further said that whenever there was a lull, the accused inspector used to prod the staff by asking about reasons for silence and thereby instigating them to start fresh rounds of beating. "Not only this, their (deceased) clothes were removed to add to the brutality of torture," it added

According to the CBI chargesheet, the post-mortem report established that the police officers brutally tortured the diseased (Jayaraj and Benicks0, and “had inflicted several injuries knowing well that they would die of complications of such blunt injuries.”

Bennicks and Jeyaraj died on June 22 and 23 respectively at a government hospital after being taken from prison in Kovilpatti town after complaints of health issues. The two were held on June 19 for "violating" lockdown norms over the business hours of their cell phone shop and lodged in the prison after a court remanded them to judicial custody a day later. Their death sparked instant outrage, fuelled by social media campaigns that sought justice for the father and son. The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court had taken suo moto cognisance of the case and ordered an investigation.