Police denies media reports on torture

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Chennai, July 20 (UNI) The Crime Branch-CID police today described as ''false and far from truth,'' media reports that one of the accused arrested in the recent phone-tapping case was tortured and threatened by the police that he would be killed in an encounter.

An official release here said the accused Shankar, Special Assistant in the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti Corruption (DVAC), was arrested on the basis of the retired Justice Shanmugham Commission's report, which went into the phone-tapping episode.

After the report, the inquiry into the case was entrusted to the CB-CID, which arrested Shankar on July 17, the day when the Tamil Nadu Government suspended former DVAC Chief S K Upadhyaya in connection with the phone-tapping case.

Subsequently, Shankar was produced before a Magistrate and remanded in judicial custody till August one.

While being remanded, Shankar had reportedly told the court that police forced him to accept the charges. He also alleged that police tortured him and also threatened to eliminate him in an encounter.

Denying the reports, the CB-CID said Shankar was questioned as per the law and was subjected to medical examination, which revealed no injuries in his body.

''Only after the medical tests, he was remanded in judicial custody,'' the release said and added that Shankar had made such allegations only to divert the attention and protect him from Law.

The State Government had ordered a judicial probe, headed by Mr Justice Shanmugham, after the phone tapping issue created a furore in the State when a section of the media published excerpts of the conversation between Mr Upadhyaya and Chief Secretary L K Tripathy, with regard to a case involving AIADMK Supremo J Jayalalithaa.

Later, text of another conversation between Mr Upadhyaya and former Social Welfare Minister Ms Poongothai Aladi Aruna was released by Janata Party President Subramanian Swamy, in which the Minister had told the then DVAC Chief to go easy in connection with a corruption case against her relative. The Minister had subsequently resigned from the State Cabinet.

The issue culminated with the suspension of Mr Upadhyaya and the arrest of Shankar two days back.

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