VELLORE: In a shocking case, a 55-year-old Dalit labourer was found dead inside the Gudiyatham police station in Vellore on Saturday. Mahendran, who was picked up along with his two sons for an investigation into a gold coin cheating case, was found hanging from the toilet ceiling at the station. Family members of the deceased were outraged, and some of them claimed Mahendran could have committed suicide unable to take the ‘police torture’.
No case against him
Mahendran, a resident of Kamatchiammanpet in KV Kuppam, was in the station in connection with a gold coin cheating case. Recently, a complaint was filed by Mathaian of Denkanikottai saying a gang had cheated him of `24 lakh by promising gold coins of much higher value. However, the gang duped him by giving fake coins.
Police claim that Mahendran’s son Ajith Kumar’s name was in the call list of one of the suspects in the cheating case. On Friday, a team went to Mahendran’s house looking for Ajith. As he was not in the house, they allegedly picked up his brother Pandian and detained him at the police station. Hearing about this, Mahendran rushed to the station along with Ajith. He requested the police personnel to release Pandian, and promised Ajith would cooperate with them for the investigation. However, police allegedly detained all three of them and did not allow them to return home, say sources.
Not detained, say police
On Saturday afternoon, Mahendran allegedly killed himself shortly after having his lunch inside the station. He was found hanging from a noose made of a towel, at around 2pm. Only the sentry was present at the station, other officials were away on duty when the incident happened, claim officials. Top police officers, including SP Pravesh Kumar, visited the police station to hold inquiries.Senior police officials claimed that Mahendran was asked to go home late on Friday night, but he insisted on staying there till Ajith was released. Mahendran’s relatives, however, do not buy the police version of the incident.
“We have our doubts about the claim that Mahendran committed suicide. An impartial inquiry must be conducted to bring out the truth,” said Ezhilarasan, a relative of the deceased. SP Pravesh Kumar said a magisterial inquiry would be conducted into the incident as the death occurred inside the station.
While senior officials claim Mahendran was asked to leave late Friday night but he insisted on staying on till his son Ajith is released, department sources say he was, indeed, detained