Dalit Police officer Vishnupriya’s suicide and the inquiry into it has opened a new pandora’s box that had carefully guarded the gender bias, casteism, hypocrisy, red tape and corruption that is widely prevalent in the Government set up
By Special Correspondent (Tamil Nadu)
The alleged suicide of Vishnupriya, deputy superintendent of police, Thiruchengode, who was investigating a sensational murder case in Tamilnadu, has caused jitters and jolts in the minds of officers and public alike.
She had gone to her hometown for two days and returned just that morning when the ill-fated incident happened. Vishnupriya was to leave for a meeting that evening and the driver raised an alarm after his calls went unanswered. Through a window that he could force open, he saw her hanging and immediately alerted his higher ups. As the news of the alleged suicide spread, hundreds flocked at the Salem government hospital where her body was kept. When her parents and friends demanded a CBI probe, some political parties joined in too.
However, the chief minister of Tamilnadu,.J Jayalalithaa, while condoling the death of the young officer on the floors of the assembly, refused to budge to the oppositions’ demand for a CBI enquiry and stated that the State crime branch CID would handle the case in an impartial manner.
The death sent shock waves cutting across party lines and an enraged civil society staged several demonstrations and protests demanding justice for the young officer.
The Tamilnadu government employees association, on its part, urged the govt to protect the employees, and take stringent action against the abettors.
CBCID who started their investigations into the alleged suicide took into custody a temple priest of the Thirukoshtiyur temple, Sivaganga district, alleging that there were several calls exchanged between the two. However, an enquiry with Vishnupriya’s friends and relatives revealed that this boy was just another friend and Vishnupriya had told her friends that he often reminded her of a cousin brother.
Maheshwari, DSP Keelakarai, and a dear friend of Vishnupriya, very boldly went on record to the media saying that there was no personal angle to the incident as portrayed by the police and said that the deceased officer was mentally harassed, unduly pressurised, verbally abused and literally driven to taking such a drastic decision of ending her life. She recalls that Vishnupriya called her at 2.48 pm on that day and told her that she was being pressurised to implicate innocent people in the murder case.
Vishnupriya was mentally harassed, unduly pressurised, verbally abused and literally driven to taking such a drastic decision of ending her life
Vishnupriya’s parents also confirmed that there was no other personal reason that could be attributed to their daughter’s death. According to Maheshwari and some friends of Vishnupriya, she was forced to remand persons who were not connected with the Gokulraj murder case, and, on that fateful day, she was asked to pit goondas against those innocent persons. Vishnupriya had told them several times earlier that she felt very guilty and sad that she was not given a free hand in the enquiry.
Maheshwari had also gone on record saying that an audio record, a conversation between Vishnupriya and Yuvaraj, the main accused in the Gokulraj murder case, stood proof that the trial was not completely under the control of the DSP Thiruchengode. Yuvaraj supposedly told Vishnupriya that he was willing to surrender in her presence and expressed apprehensions about the way the enquiry progressed till then.
There are several issues that remain unattended in this case.
Initial reports said that the suicide note contained more than 15 pages, but the police have released only 7 pages to the aggrieved parents and the media. Ravi, Vishnupriya’s father, in fact claimed that only two pages contained his daughter’s handwriting and the rest have been written by someone else.
Some of Vishnupriya’s friends have said that alongside the Gokulraj case, she was also handling another important case and there was a lot of political pressure regarding the same.
Vishnupriya supposedly had recorded all calls made to her. Maheshwari claimed that while the IO who was appointed to enquire into the suicide, was standing right next to her in the Salem Government hospital, she got the receipt report of the messages she had sent to Vishnupriya on whatsapp and sms which meant that the messages were checked many hours after her death. She immediately asked the IO if he had the phone with him but he replied that he didn’t have it. Why should the phone be misused by someone else and why was it not handed over to the investigating officer she asks, and believes that crucial evidence related to the suicide and the cases investigated could have been tampered with.
Recently M.Francis Besky who was working as ADSP Namakkal, was shifted causing many eyebrows to raise. He was supposed to have been working very closely with Vishnupriya and the deceased officer is said to have confided a lot.
In a recent development, Yuvaraj, the prime accused in the Gokulraj case who is absconding from the police, released a 51 minute whatsapp recorded audio, including a 20 minute conversation between himself and Vishnupriya. In it, the veracity of which cannot be attested to, DSP Vishnupriya says that she is under immense pressure from officials over the case, and hints that several others who have helped Yuvaraj have been arrested ‘unnecessarily’ as he is absconding.
Vishnupriya’s death has opened a new pandora’s box that had carefully guarded the gender bias, casteism, hypocrisy, red tape and corruption that is widely prevalent in the Government set up. We sincerely hope that all that remains in the box is justice to the departed musical soul that was ever so fond of sending songs through voice notes and recordings to her near and dear!