In a harrowing case that has raised questions of custodial care, a 35-year-old woman from Salem, Tamil Nadu, fainted while in custody at the Alandurai police station in Coimbatore. Tragically, she was declared “brought dead” by doctors at the Alandurai Government Hospital.
The woman, identified as Thilagavathi, and her partner, P Pandiyan (43), had been residing in Pethanaickenpalayam near Attur, Salem district, having separated from their respective families. For the past two years, they had been in a live-in relationship.
The couple’s troubles began during a visit to the Murugan temple in Tiruchendur, Thoothukudi district, in early October. There, they befriended a family from Manavazhapuram in Kanniyakumari, and allegations emerged that they had kidnapped the family’s one-and-a-half-year-old son.
According to sources, the couple established a friendship with the family at the Kulasekarapattinam Mutharaman temple and accompanied them to Tiruchendur. On October 5, when the family went to wash clothes, Thilagavathi allegedly abducted the child. A CCTV camera captured her fleeing on a motorcycle with Pandiyan.
Acting on information from the Thoothukudi police, the Alandurai police apprehended the couple. During interrogation, they admitted their involvement in child trafficking.
The situation took a tragic turn when Thilagavathi collapsed at the police station and was rushed to the hospital, where she was pronounced dead. Following her death, a case was registered under Section 176 (1)(A) of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), which calls for an inquiry by a magistrate into the cause of death.
Thoothukudi Superintendent of Police L Balaji Saravanan stated that a case had been registered against the couple for child abduction under Section 363 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). A specialized team was formed to investigate the case, with the police tracking the couple’s location via their mobile phone signals.
While details surrounding Thilagavathi’s tragic demise remain unclear, sources suggest that she may have ingested a white-colored substance when confronted by the police. It has also been revealed that she had three pending theft cases in Namakkal.
Efforts to reach DGP Shankar Jiwal for further information were unsuccessful.
Meanwhile, the child, who was kidnapped, was successfully rescued by Salem police from Pandiyan’s parents in Thennampillaiyur near Ethapur. Following this development, Salem district police are in the process of transferring the child and Pandiyan’s mother, P Pachiyammal (50), to the Thoothukudi police.