Tamil Nadu cop accused in custodial deaths of father-son duo dies due to COVID-19

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Chennai: A policeman in Tamil Nadu, accused in the custodial deaths of a father and son in Tuticorin district in June, died Monday due to COVID-19. The dead cop has been identified as Pauldurai, 56. He was a special sub-inspector and one of the 10 policemen arrested in connection with death of traders P Jeyaraj (59) and his son S Beniks (31) at Sathankulam after alleged police torture. The incident sparked huge outrage and a political row.

Pauldurai has been allegedly accused of beating up the father-son duo brutally. Two other constables are accused of holding the victims while Paldurai beat them up with a stick.

Pauldurai died at a government hospital in Madurai earlier in the day. Sources said he had diabetes, a comorbidity which led to his death. It has been seen in India that people who have high blood sugar and contract the COVID-19 virus are mostly succumbing to the disease. The policeman’s family, however, alleged that he was not treated well and never got proper medicines.

The cop, who was jailed at the central prison in Madurai, was hosptialised after he tested positive for coronavirus last month. His wife had appealed to senior police officers for permission to shift him to Kanyakumari for better treatment.

Jeyaraj, 59, and his son Beniks, 31, were arrested June 19 for keeping their mobile phone shop open 15 minutes beyond permitted hours. The police claimed the two had fought and showered verbal abuses on them while resisting arrest. The two men were allegedly subjected to brutal torture in police custody. Their family said earlier that the two had severe internal and external wounds, including rectal bleeding.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is now probing the deaths of Jeyaraj and Beniks after the Tamil Nadu government handed over the probe to the premier agency.