Madras High Court pans CB-CID over delay in Vengaivayal probe

CHENNAI: The Madras High Court, on Monday, pulled up the Crime Branch-Criminal Investigation Department (CB-CID) for not apprehending those behind the Vengaivayal incident even after two years. In December 2022, human faeces was found mixed in an overhead tank from which water was supplied to Scheduled Caste residents of the village located in Pudukkottai.

The first Division Bench comprising Acting Chief Justice R Mahadevan and Justice Mohammed Shaffiq was hearing a bunch of Public Interest Litigation petitions seeking the probe to be transferred to the CBI when the bench asked why an arrest had not been made even after 18 months of the incident.

Additional Advocate General (AAG) J Ravindran and Additional Public Prosecutor R Muniyapparaj submitted that notices have been served to three suspects and the investigation was almost complete. Stating that so far 389 people have been questioned in connection with the case and voice samples have been sent for testing, the AAG sought another fortnight for the CB-CID.

He further told the judges that the one-person commission, headed by retired high court judge M Sathyanarayanan which was appointed by the court to probe the incident, was yet to submit its final report and that only an interim report has been submitted so far.

Accepting the request for more time, the Bench adjourned the petitions by two weeks while asking the CB-CID to complete the probe without asking for further adjournments.

Earlier this year, the high court asked the CB-CID to complete investigations by July 3 this year since investigations began way back in January 2023. The incident came to light when several residents of the village, including children, fell ill following which samples drawn from the drinking water were analysed and found to be contaminated with human faeces.

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