CUDDALORE: “This is the best judgment in the history of Tamil Nadu,” said D Velmurugan, younger brother of victim Murugesan, after the Cuddalore district special court for Scheduled Caste (SC) and Scheduled Tribe (ST) cases on Friday pronounced its sentence pertaining to the honour killing of a couple in 2003.
The court awarded a death sentence to one person and life sentences to 12 others, including a former deputy superintendent of police and an inspector. Recalling the crime, Velmurugan told TNIE, “Nearly 5,000 people lived in our village at that time, and many of them witnessed it. We saw my brother alive in the evening, and the next morning, we found his partially-charred body. We performed the last rites with the remainings.”
“My father and relatives went to the police station to lodge a complaint, but the police registered a fake case based on a complaint from the then VAO, who claimed my brother and Kannagi committed suicide,” he added. Velmurugan further said the accused were willing to pay `50 lakh to divert the witnesses, and even some of his relatives distanced themselves.
He added that lawyer Rathinam and human rights activists such as G Sugumaran gave them the courage to stand firm, and now, the judgment has given hope to others seeking justice in similar cases. Speaking about the case, Sugumaran asserted that the then inspector and SI of the Virudachalam police station tried to hide the facts and instead accused the victim’s family. “Later, following our efforts, the CBI booked those police officials. This is the first time in Tamil Nadu that the inquiry officials of a case are being punished under the SC&ST Act,” said Sugumaran.