COIMBATORE: In a curious case, the Coimbatore police have booked three robbery suspects on charges of committing a knife-point robbery while they were allegedly being held in police custody.
It may sound illogical but the police insist that S Lakshmanan, B Chandrasekaran and Murugan alias Kuttai Murugan had gone on a moped, waylaid one Sampath Kumar on Nethaji Road and demanded money at knife-point “for purchasing liquor” on Friday morning, though the police had previously claimed to have taken them into custody three days earlier.
On Wednesday last, the police had claimed that a special team had arrested Lakshmanan and Chandrasekaran at Thondamathur in connection with an armed dacoity committed in a house at Seeninaickenpalayam recently. They further said that another accused Kuttai Murugan was arrested from Aruppukottai in Virudhunagar district. The news of their arrest was reported by a section of the media too.
In this backdrop, the R S Puram police gave a bizarre twist to the case by registering a case against the three men accusing them of waylaying Sathish Kumar, a resident of P N Pudur, in an attempt to rob him at knife-point on Friday morning.
“The accused robbed Sathish of gold ornaments and Rs 500 before fleeing,” the police claimed.
When Express contacted Coimbatore Police Commissioner A K Viswanathan on Saturday and asked him how three persons in police custody could have committed a robbery, he denied that they were arrested earlier.
“Only media reports said that they were arrested on Wednesday. The three were arrested only on Friday after they threatened the victim at knife-pointed. During interrogation, their roles in the home burglary came to light,” he said.
The commissioner refused to take responsibility for media reports that said that a special team under Deputy Commissioner of Police Ramya Bharti had nabbed the accused prior to Friday.
However, human rights activists alleged this was an old trick resorted to by the police.
“Usually various cases are slapped against an accused. This is done to make out a case that the said accused poses a threat to the law and order situation and thereafter detain him under the Goondas Act preventing him from coming out of jail for one year,” charged Prisoners Rights Forum director P Pugazhenthi.
“A few years ago, an Inspector attached to the Big Bazaar Street police station had threatened a jeweller to part with what he termed as ‘stolen ornaments’. Later, the jeweller was shocked to find out that the suspect who had pinpointed his store had not even been arrested for a crime,” claimed senior lawyer C Gnanabharathi.