18 years after couple's honour killing, TN court hands death penalty to one, life terms to 12

Two policemen -- former DSP Chellamuthu and inspector Tamilmaran -- were among those sentenced to life imprisonment

Published: 24th September 2021 04:19 PM  |   Last Updated: 24th September 2021 04:21 PM   |  A+A-

Kannagi and Murugesan were killed by poisoning | Express

Express News Service

CUDDALORE: The Cuddalore district special court for Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe cases sentenced one person to death and twelve people including a former deputy superintendent of police and inspector to life imprisonment on Friday over the honour killing of a couple in 2003.

According to a court source from Cuddalore, S Murugesan, 25, of Puthucolony in Kuppanatham near Virudachalam in Cuddalore district, was from the Dalit community. He fell in love with D Kannagi, 22, of the same village who belonged to the Vanniyar community, while studying in Annamalai University. On May 5, 2003, they got married in the Cuddalore sub registrar office without informing relatives. Later, they both eloped and Murugesan asked Kannagi to stay in his relative's house at Moongilthuraipattu in the then Villupuram district and now in Kallakurichi district. Murugesan stayed in another relative's house at Vannagudikadu near Srimushnam in Cuddalore district.

After launching a search, her relatives found them on July 8, 2003 and brought them to Kuppanatham. On the same day, they took them to the cremation ground in the village and murdered them by pouring poison in their ears and mouths. Then their bodies were cremated separately at the same spot. Sources alleged that many villagers were present when the brutal incident took place.

Murugesan's father Samikannu subsequently filed a complaint at Virudachalam police station. Inspector M Chellamuthu, 66, who retired as deputy superintendent of police and sub inspector P Tamilmaran, 51, who was promoted as inspector and suspended in a bribe case, tried to hide the honour killing and filed a case against four relatives each from both families. Samikannu filed a petition in the Madras High Court demanding to shift the case to the CBI and in 2004, it was transferred to the CBI based on a High Court order.

ALSO READ: Trial begins: 2003 Tamil Nadu honour killing case

After five years, on March 9, 2009, the CBI filed a chargesheet in the case that mentioned fifteen names including Kannagi's father, elder brothers, two relatives of Murugesan, DSP Chellamuthu and inspector Tamilmaran as accused. At first, the trial was held in the Cuddalore district sessions court and then it was transferred to the Cuddalore district special court for the trial of SC and ST cases.

On Friday morning, judge S Uthamaraja gave his judgement. He released Murugesan's relatives S Ayyasamy, 61, and P Gunasekaran, 59, stating that they were brought to the spot forcibly and so didn't have a hand in the murder. The judge convicted the other thirteen as guilty in the case. Later in the afternoon, judge Uthamaraja sentenced to death Kannagi's elder brother D Maruthupandian, 49, and imposed a penalty of Rs 4.56 lakh. He also gave three life sentences to her father C Duraisamy, 68, brother D Rangasamy, 45, relatives K Kandavelu, 54, K Jothi, 53, R Mani, 66, R Dhanavel, 49, V Anjapuli, 47, K Ramdoss, 52, N Chinnadurai, 50, and imposed a penalty of Rs 4.15 lakh.

The judge also sentenced to life former DSP Chellamuthu and inspector Tamilmaran and imposed a penalty of Rs 1.15 lakh. He further ordered the duo to give Rs 3 lakh each to Murugesan's family. The judgement created a flutter in the Cuddalore district court premises on Friday and armed police forces were deployed for security. During the judgement, judge Uthamaraja said, "The caste-related murders created a black mark for human society. Kannagi's death should be the last in the land of Tamil Nadu."

Special lawyer Dominique Vijay was present for the CBI and senior lawyer P Rathinam was present on behalf of the Murugesan family. Of the 81 prosecution witnesses, 36 turned hostile during the trial.


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