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SI's Murder: TN Ministers Refute Charge Of Apathy

PTI 09 Jan 2010, 22:37:07 IST

Facing flak for alleged apathy in not extending timely help to a policeman who bled to death on the road, two Tamil Nadu ministers on Saturday in Chennai refuted the charge saying they ensured that the victim was sent to hospital without delay in a vehicle of their convoy.

As video footage of sub inspector Vetrivel crying for help with the two ministers standing around evoked a national outrage, Health Minister M R K Pannerselvam defended himself and Sports Development Minister T P M Mohideen Khan in the Assembly saying the charge against them was "totally wrong".

Pannerselvam said that on seeing the policeman's plight, he and Khan had immediately called for an ambulance which had to come from Tenkasi. "As there could be delay, we arranged for a police vehicle to move him to hospital," he said, refuting the allegation that they did not take any step to hospitalise Vetrivel who was battling for life on the road.

Tirunelveli District Collector M Jayaraman, who was part of the ministers' convoy, said the safety of Pannerselvam and Khan had to be taken into account while making arrangements to rush Vetrivel to hospital.

"There were two cars of the ministers, two escort cars and my car. We arranged to send the injured SI in one of the escort cars immediately and telephoned hospitals at Ambasamuthiram and Tiruneveli to be ready to give emergency treatment," Jayaraman said.

Vetrivel's body was buried with full police honours at Mullikulam in Tirunelveli district as hundreds of residents paid homage while the two ministers kept away.

Forty-four-year-old Vetrivel, a member of the Special Task Force that gunned down forest brigand Veerappan in 2004, lay in a pool of blood with a leg severed and begged for help after the attack by a gang at Alwarkuruchi on Thursday shortly before the ministerial convoy was to pass by.

 AIADMK chief Jayalalithaa demanded sacking of two ministers, accusing them of not taking any action to save the life of a policeman, who was crying for help after being attacked by a gang, despite witnessing his plight.

"The ministers did not take any step to save the sub-inspector. They had only called for an ambulance during the golden hour period," she said in a statement here.

The Sub-Inspector was seriously injured after the assailants hurled crude bombs at him and attacked him with sickles in a case of mistaken identity while they had intended to target another police official.

Of the five persons detained in connection with the attack on the sub-inspector, three had been arrested, police said. PTI