Vengaivayal case | How long will you take to catch culprits, Madras High Court asks CB-CID

The overhead water tank in Vengavayal village in Pudukkottai district where human faeces was found, in December 2022. File photograph
| Photo Credit: MOORTHY M

The Madras High Court on Monday, July 8, 2024, asked why the Crime Branch-Criminal Investigation Department (CB-CID) is unable to catch the culprits even 18 months after human faeces was found floating inside an overhead tank that supplied drinking water to Scheduled Caste residents of Vengaivayal village in Pudukottai district. The incident took place in December 2022.

Acting Chief Justice R. Mahadevan raised the question while presiding over the first Division Bench along with Justice Mohammed Shaffiq to hear a couple of public interest litigation petitions that insisted on a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the incident. The ACJ wondered why was it taking so long for the State police to apprehend the accused.

Additional Advocate General J. Ravindran and Additional Public Prosecutor R. Muniyapparaj told the court the police had now narrowed down three suspects and issued notices to them under Section 41A of the Code of Criminal Procedure, which mandates that police officers summon suspects for an inquiry before arresting them without a warrant.

Hopeful of achieving a breakthrough in the case within two weeks, the law officers urged the court to grant them a fortnight’s time to report progress. They also informed the judges that their predecessors had appointed a one-man inquiry commission headed by retired High Court judge M. Sathyanarayanan to conduct an inquiry, and the latter too, had filed only an interim report so far.

“The interim report has already been placed before this court. The final report is awaited,” the AAG said and requested the granting of some more time to the CB-CID. The Division Bench accepted the request and adjourned the PIL petitions by two weeks with a rider that the investigating agency should not keep seeking further adjournments without reporting substantial progress.

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