Human faeces was found mixed in an overhead tank from which water was supplied to SC residents of Pudukkottai village in December 2022Human faeces was found mixed in an overhead tank from which water was supplied to SC residents of Pudukkottai village in December 2022
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In a recent development, the Madras High Court has expressed strong dissatisfaction with the Crime Branch-Criminal Investigation Department (CB-CID) for its prolonged delay in resolving the Vengaivayal incident. This incident, dating back to December 2022, involved the discovery of human faeces mixed in an overhead tank supplying water to Scheduled Caste residents in Pudukkottai.

Background of the Incident

The controversy began when residents of Vengaivayal reported falling ill, including children, due to contaminated drinking water. Subsequent investigations revealed the shocking presence of human faeces in the water supply, prompting public outcry and legal action.

High Court’s Critique

During the hearing of several Public Interest Litigation (PIL) petitions urging the transfer of the probe to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the Madras High Court’s Division Bench, comprising Acting Chief Justice R Mahadevan and Justice Mohammed Shaffiq, raised pointed questions regarding the progress of the investigation. Despite the passage of 18 months since the incident, no arrests had been made.

Legal Proceedings

The Additional Advocate General (AAG) J Ravindran and Additional Public Prosecutor R Muniyapparaj informed the court that notices had been served to three suspects, and extensive investigations involving questioning 389 individuals had taken place. Voice samples had also been sent for testing as part of the ongoing probe. However, they noted that the one-person commission, led by retired High Court Judge M Sathyanarayanan, appointed to investigate the matter, had yet to submit its final report, having only provided an interim report thus far.

Court’s Directive

Acknowledging the updates provided, the High Court granted an additional two weeks for the CB-CID to conclude its investigation. However, the bench sternly instructed the investigating agency to finalize its findings within this period and refrained from seeking further adjournments.

Earlier this year, the court had set a deadline of July 3, 2024, for the CB-CID to complete its investigation, emphasizing the urgency of resolving the case given its severity and impact on public health.

Conclusion

The delay in apprehending those responsible for the Vengaivayal incident has sparked widespread concern and calls for accountability. As the legal proceedings continue, the Madras High Court remains vigilant in ensuring justice for the affected residents and maintaining the integrity of the investigative process.

This development underscores the critical role of judicial oversight in holding authorities accountable and delivering timely justice in matters of public interest.


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