CHENNAI: Four dalit men from a village in Tuticorin district were framed in a double murder case by a police inspector and had to spend more than 90 days in jail, all because they resisted the officer's mediation in a land dispute. With a reinvestigation now proving their innocence, the inspector, T Selvam, is facing departmental action and is likely to be suspended.

After real estate businessman Anthony Pandian and his driver Shyamaraj were murdered in Thattaparai in October 2013, inspector Selvam arrested M Yesudasan, P Sudalaimuthu, P Varadarajan and N Paramasivam, charging them with the double murder. They were sent to jail and it took many legal battles, scores of representations to various officials and finally a reinvestigation by another inspector, as per the orders of a Tuticorin court, to clear their names. Police arrested the 12 real culprits earlier this year.
Yesudasan said Selvam had business relations with Pandian and hence intervened to settle a property dispute between Yesudasan's mother-in-law B Pitchammal and Pandian. "The inspector put pressure on my mother-in-law to give away a property worth 36 lakh for just 10 lakh to Pandian on October 25, 2013. We resisted, but Selvam did not take it kindly. Two days later, Pandian and Shyamraj were murdered by a gang. Selvam, who was holding additional charge of Thattaparai police station, arrested us and tortured us for hours to make us admit to the crime. We pleaded innocence, but nobody listened to us," said Yesudasan.

After his arrest, Yesudasan was sacked by the private finance firm where he worked. "I am not able to take up any job as I cannot stand for even 15 minutes at a stretch," said Yesudasan. After the reinvestigation exposed flaws in the FIR, Tuticorin SP Ashwin Kotnis ordered a departmental inquiry by deputy superintendent of police V Gopal. Gopal's report, submitted on May 14, said Selvam acted with "mala fide" intention and "cooked up a false case" against four innocent people. He further said Selvam "acted with preplanned ulterior motive" and "misused his position". He forged the complaint saying Pandian's son Ayyadurai had seen the four men killing his father. Ayyadurai told Gopal that he never gave such a statement and he had only signed on a few blank papers as per Selvam's instruction. Selvam even forged VAO Prem Sudhakar's signature to prepare a fake confession statement of the four people, the report said. Selvam's actions helped the real accused evade arrest, it said.
Kotnis told TOI that a "punishment roll inquiry" has been initiated against Selvam, who has gone on a medical leave a month ago. Another senior official said, "We are in the process of suspending Selvam."

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Arrest of innocents in murder case: Inspector suspended

Deputy Inspector General of Police, Tirunelveli Range, S. Murugan has placed under suspension Inspector of Police of Nazareth police station T. Selvam for arresting four innocent Dalits in connection with the murder of a realtor while allowing the real culprits to escape from the clutches of law.

When Antony Pandian, a realtor from Varthagareddipatti under Thattapaarai police station limits in Tuticorin district, was murdered around 3 a.m. on October 29, 2013, along with his driver Shyam Raj while sleeping in the portico of his residence, Thattaparai police registered a case based on a complaint reportedly preferred by Pandian’s A. Ayyadurai.

Investigating Officer of this case and Inspector (in-charge) of Thattaparai police station, Selvam, who was the Inspector of neighbouring Pudukottai police station, arrested Yesudasan and his associates Sudalaimuthu alias Immanuel, Varadharajan and Paramasivan.

When the foursome, pleading innocence, filed a petition before the court, the case was handed over to D. Felix Suresh Peter, Inspector of Police of Puthiyamputhur police station, on November 16, 2013, to pursue the investigation.

Even as Mr. Felix intensified the probe, one Ulaganathan surrendered before Varthagareddipatti VAO Prem Sudhakar, saying that he had murdered Antony Pandian and Shyam Raj. As he was handed over to Mr. Felix, it led to the arrest of two more while a few more, all connected to the murder, surrendered before various courts in Tirunelveli and Tuticorin districts. After recording the confessional statements of 10 accused, Mr. Felix recovered the arms used in the double murder.

An enquiry was conducted by a DSP, who brought to light several flaws in the hasty arrest made by Selvam in a bid to settle the enmity he had developed with Yesudasan and others in a land deal.

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