Amid the nationwide furore against the custodial death of father and son in Thoothukudi, the Tamil Nadu state home department has transferred Thoothukudi Superintendent of Police Arun Balagopalan, IPS shunting him out of the district and placing him under "compulsory wait".
The govt has now appointed a new Superintendant of Police, S Jeyakumar, IPS who made headlines during the Gutka scam. This decision came minutes after the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court transferred the Thoothukudi custodial deaths to a CBI enquiry.
Post the custodial death of Jayaraj and Bennix, who died due to police brutality, an official release was issued by the state home department. According to the release Arun Balagopalan, IPS "is brought to the compulsory wait at the office of the Director-General of Police," a Home Department order said.
Villupuram SP S Jeyakumar, IPS has been appointed in place of Balagopalan. The release further read, the home department appointed S Murugan, IPS, IG of Economic Offence wing, as the new IG of South Zone. Murugan will be replacing Shanmugarajeswaran who retires on Tuesday, June 30.
The Jayaraj and Bennix incident has so far lead to the suspension of five policemen, including an inspector and two Sub-Inspectors.
S Jeyakumar and the Gutka Scam connection
S Jeyakumar was infamous for the Gutkha Scam as he was called for an enquiry by the CBI in 2018. During the scam, Jeyakumar was the DCP of Chennai and was called out by the Chennai Commissioner of Police S George for not informing him about the illegal trade of gutkha in the state.
Earlier in 2013, Gutkha was completed banned in Tamil Nadu as it was among the causes of oral cancer. According to investigation reports, the promoters of Annamalai Industries, formerly known as Jayam Industries bribed high-rank ministers, government employees and police officials to allow the company to function illegally and sell MDM gutkha despite the ban.
According to reports, the scam first emerged in July 2017 when income tax officials raided the premises of Annamalai Industries, which had been accused of evading taxes worth Rs 250 crore.
Not only has Jeyakumar come under the radar, S Murugan, IPS also has been under the scanner for an alleged sexual harassment case. Earlier, in 2018, a Tamil Nadu woman Superintendent of Police filed a sexual harassment case against the newly appointed IG of South Zone.
Jayaraj and Bennix custodial death
On June 19, two shopkeepers, 50-year-old P Jayaraj and his 31-year-old son Bennix were brought in to the Sathankulam police station for questioning in Tuticorin.
They were brought in on charges for violating lockdown rules by keeping their mobile shop running during the lockdown. However, they were 'beaten to death' at the police station, according to reports. While Jayaraj passed away on June 22, his son Fenix died on June 23.