History-sheeter dies hours after Chennai police interrogate him in theft case, relatives cry foul

Sridhar was picked up for questioning after the police checked CCTV visuals which confirmed his presence at the scene.

ByVinodh Arulappan

Published Jul 15, 2023 | 3:28 PMUpdatedJul 15, 2023 | 3:28 PM

Sridhar's relatives suspect that he was tortured in police custody. (Creative Commons)

A 24-year-old man with criminal antecedents died hours after the police interrogated him in a theft case at MGR Nagar in Chennai.

Following the death of M Sridhar, the police department initiated an inquiry into the incident after his relatives alleged that he was tortured in custody.

The MGR Nagar police picked up Sridhar of Pammal Nallathambi Street on Wednesday, 12 July, after a woman living in the same building complained that one sovereign of gold and ₹5,000 in cash had gone missing from her house. She had complained on 9 July.

On verifying the CCTV footage in the area, the police found Sridhar’s presence at the scene and detained him for questioning.

He was let off after interrogation but was summoned back the next morning, 13 July.

The MGR Nagar police said they collected Sridhar’s fingerprints and asked him about the missing valuables. However, he was allowed to leave when his wife Manju visited the station around noon.

Also read: Custodial torture: case involving IPS officer transferred to CB-CID

Sridhar falls ill

While the couple was returning home from the station, Sridhar complained of difficulty in breathing and chest pain and was taken to the Corporation Hospital. Doctors treated him for gastric problems and permitted him to leave.

However, after returning home, he suffered an epileptic attack. His relatives rushed him in a 108 ambulance to the ESI Hospital at KK Nagar, where the doctors declared him dead on arrival.

Alleging that Sridhar died due to pressure from the police, his relatives demanded an inquiry. His body was sent for a post-mortem examination.

Also read: Autopsy confirms injuries in another case of custodial death

Speaking to South First, Sundaram, uncle of Sridhar, said that “there were petty cases against Sridhar but after his marriage, he was not involved in any crime. We didn’t notice any external injuries. We are awaiting the postmortem report”.

Sridhar had five criminal cases pending against him.

Sundaram said that police used to frequently detain Sridhar even in cases that were not related to him.

Meanwhile, T Nagar Deputy Commissioner of Police Arun Kabilan commenced a probe into the alleged custodial torture. The police also registered an FIR under Section 174 CrPC (death under suspicious circumstances).