THOOTHUKUDI: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has filed a chargesheet against 71 protesters and a police inspector in connection with the anti-Sterlite agitation on May 22-23, 2018, and the subsequent police firing.
In connection with the violent protest, as many as 243 cases were registered in six police stations near Thoothukudi corporation area. Following an order from the Madurai Bench of Madras High Court, the 243 cases were clubbed into a single case under crime no. 191, and the case was transferred to the CBI on October 8, 2018.
The CBI re-registered the cases again under Sections 147, 148, 188, 324, 332, 353, 448, 450, 307, 436, 506 (ii) of the IPC, Sections 3(1) and 4 of TNPPDL Act, Section 3 of Explosive Substances Act, 1908, and Section 174 of the CrPC, as per the High Court order.
A CBI source told TNIE that they had filed two FIRs in connection to the police firing incident: one against the protesters who caused damage to public properties and another against the police personnel who opened fire.
“The investigation about the crimes of police personnel are being probed in two angles: whether they had opened fire intentionally or in self-defence to prevent damaging the public properties. The investigations are still continuing. The status report of the investigation is being updated to the courts concerned periodically,” he said.
The CBI documents submitted to the Chief Judicial Magistrate of the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court, accessed by TNIE, revealed that 71 persons have been charged by the agency in two separate chargesheets. The first chargesheet containing 27 accused was submitted on December 31, 2019 while the second supplementary chargesheet containing the details of 44 persons was submitted on September 21, 2020.
“Those chargesheeted were not summoned by the court for the trials until now,” said sources. Some of the familiar names found in the chargesheet include All College Students Association President Santhosh (23), Revolutionary Youth Front (RYF)’s Surjit and Bulton Jesin of the AIADMK.
Moreover, CBI sources confirmed that a police inspector in Thirumalai was named in the third chargesheet submitted to the CJM in December 2020. Thirumalai was then the inspector in Pudukottai station. He was suspected of illegally detaining 94 youth at a police shooting ground in Vallanadu and torturing them on May 22. The youth were released following the district judge’s intervention. However, the cop refused comment.