So far police have arrested five officers, including one inspector and two sub-inspectors. While the government has transferred all the other officers
CHENNAI| The Friends of Police (FOP) is under the scanner after the father and son in Tamil Nadu’s Thoothukudi deaths with demands to dismantle the system that is “widely misused”, especially in small towns and rural areas.
The probe by the state’s Crime Branch-CID into the deaths of shopkeeper P Jeyaraj and his son J Bennix in Sathankulam police station on the night of June 19 has zeroed in on the alleged role of six FOP members who had been “helping the Inspector and Sub-Inspectors in routine affairs”.
The officer while talking to The Sunday Express said, “We suspect that all six of them had a role in the custodial torture that happened on June 19 night and similar incidents in the past. We have identified them, and all six will be arrested.”
So far police have arrested five officers, including one inspector and two sub-inspectors, in the case. While the government has transferred all the other officers posted at the Sathankulam station. The CBI is expected to take over the probe soon, following a recommendation from the state government.
The officer said, “One of the arrested officers said they had beaten the father and son the same way they had been beating others. What we are now probing is the nature of the crime that lasted for several hours in the night, and how these FOPs also engaged in it”.
FOP, a voluntary system with no salary, was started in 1993 in Ramanathapuram district to bring the police and the public closer. It is estimated that there are around 4,000 active FOP members in police stations across Tamil Nadu.
Another official said, “Volunteers can apply, and there are minimum criteria like no political affiliation or criminal background, etc. Those who apply are mostly rural youth from poor backgrounds. It is not the salary but the proximity to police that is an attraction. Some with criminal tendencies take advantage of a favourable environment in the system.”
Following the reports of the involvement of FoP in the father-son murder case, the statement was sent by the DIGs of Madurai, Villupuram and Tirunelveli. A source said that the Director-General of Police has verbally ordered the Tamil Nadu police not to use FoP.
The districts where FoP is banned as of Sunday afternoon are Tiruchy, Karur, Ariyalur, Perambalur, Pudukottai, Villupuram, Tirunelveli, Thenkasi, Thoothukudi, Kanniyakumari, Villupuram, Cuddalore and Kallakurichi.