DHARMAPURI:The family of Santhoshkumar, who died recently after he was assaulted near the Omalur toll plaza in Salem, has sought action against its staff alleging them to be responsible for the death of the 30-year-old.
The kin claimed the staff had hired rowdies to ensure that people use the toll plaza route and beat up those who take the alternative path.
On July 2, around 9.15 am, B Santhoshkumar, a car showroom supervisor from Pidamaneri in Dharmapuri, had gone in a car along with his colleagues and brother-in-law Gowtham from Hosur to Salem to attend an official meeting. As there was heavy traffic at the Omalur toll plaza, they went via Kotta Gowntampatti Road. But, on their way, some unidentified men waylaid them and assaulted Santhoshkumar. He suffered grievous injuries and collapsed on the ground. He was rushed to a private hospital in Salem from where he was referred to a hospital in Bengaluru, where he succumbed to his injuries on Saturday.
Following this, on Sunday, police arrested three persons in connection with the incident. On questioning, the trio said they attacked Santhoshkumar as he had knocked down their two-wheeler with his car.
But, Santhoshkumar’s brother-in-law gives a different version. Speaking to Express, Gowtham alleged, “The motorcycle did meet with an accident on the road, but it had nothing to do with our car. But still the motorists stopped us, alleging we had hit their vehicle and started beating up Santhoshkumar.”
Gowtham claims it was a drama staged by the toll plaza staff. “People can reach Salem through Kotta Gowntampatti village without using the toll plaza. Since this causes a revenue loss for them, they deploy rowdies to prevent four-wheelers from entering the village.”
“We went through the village only to escape the traffic, without realising it would claim a life,” he lamented. Demanding action against the toll plaza, Santhoshkumar’s wife Ishwariya asked, “Is there a rule that everyone should use the toll plaza?” With a son, who is just a few months old, she is at a loss of what to do with her life.