No action yet against Udangudi panchayat official booked in sanitary staff suicide case

56-year-old Sudalaimadan attempted the extreme step on March 17 after Udangudi town panchayat president's mother-in-law allegedly verbally abused him for not wearing khaki while cleaning streets.
Image used for representational purposes. (File Photo)
Image used for representational purposes. (File Photo)

THOOTHUKUDI: It has now come to light that Udangudi town panchayat Executive Officer (EO) B Babu, who was named the second accused in the suicide case of conservancy worker P Sudalaimadan, was not suspended as was earlier claimed, but instead transferred to Sawyerpuram town panchayat. The departmental action initiated against him was also put in abeyance.

Fifty-six-year-old Sudalaimadan attempted the extreme step on March 17 after Udangudi town panchayat president's mother-in-law Ayesha Kallasi (62) allegedly verbally abused him for not wearing khaki uniform while cleaning streets. Kallasi and EO Babu were also accused of hurling casteist slurs against Sudalaimadan. The conservancy worker breathed his last at a hospital on March 23.

Based on a complaint from the victim's wife Thangammal, Kulasekarapattinam police booked Kallasi, Babu, town panchayat president Hemaira, and her husband Ashaf on charges of abetting Sudalaimadan's suicide. Subsequently, all the suspects went into hiding. Thoothukudi SP Balaji Saravanan appointed Tiruchendur DSP Vasantharaj to investigate the case.

After 23 days in hiding, Kallasi surrendered before Kulasekarapattinam police on April 10, while the others secured anticipatory bail. Meanwhile, supporters of Fisheries Minister Anitha R Radhakrishnan and several other DMK members formed a human shield around Kallasi at Kulasekarapattinam police station to prevent press persons from taking her photographs.

Ashaf was later suspended from the post of Udangudi cooperative society president."Disqualification of the town panchayat president would be executed only when the charges pending against her are confirmed," a top official said. During various agitations demanding action against the accused, the fisheries minister and district administration officials had repeatedly claimed that EO Babu was already suspended.

However, the Assistant Director of Town Panchayat recently told TNIE that Babu was transferred to Sawyerpuram following a long leave. "I am not sure whether he was suspended at any time," the official added.

Speaking to TNIE, Thangammal said Babu has not been suspended even five months after the incident. "MP Kanimozhi Karunanidhi, and minister Anitha R Radhakrishnan had promised us that all the suspects will be arrested and that Babu will be suspended. But, nothing has materialised till now," she lamented.

It may be recalled that after consoling the bereaved family, Kanimozhi and Anitha R Radhakrishnan had told media persons that anyone booked under the SC/ST Act will be punished without any leniency. "All the accused in this case will be arrested and prosecuted before the court of law," they had said.

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