Coimbatore: Five Maoists, arrested near here recently in a joint police operation, claimed in a court that police during interrogation threatened to kill them in an ‘encounter’. The Maoists, including front-ranking leader Roopesh, wanted in connection with 20 cases in Kerala, made the charge before Principal and District Sessions Judge (In-Charge) M P Subramanian when they were produced in the court on expiry of their 10-day police custody. They told the court that both Kerala and Karnataka Police, during the last two days of their interrogation, had threatened to kill them in an encounter. After hearing them, the judge remanded the five accused in judicial custody till June 3, following which they were lodged in the Central Prison here.
One of the accused, Eswaran, later talking to reporters alleged police had also threatened to foist false cases against their family members. Roopesh, his wife Shyna and the three others were arrested at Karumathampatti near here by a joint team of Andhra, Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu police on May 4 and the court the next day had sent them to 10-days police custody for interrogation. On a petition by the five challenging the order of sessions judge, Madras High Court has on May 13 restrained the police from seeking extension of their custody. Their counsel had contended that the sessions judge had no jurisdiction to grant police custody of the five as offences levelled against them were under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and the case has to be tried by a Special Court functioning at Poonamallee near Chennai.