The Madras High Court today directed the dean of Government Royapettah General Hospital to appoint a team of doctors to conduct autopsy on the body of a pan masala shop owner, who was allegedly brutally beaten by police recently and later succumbed to his injuries. A writ petition was filed by Tamil Nadu Pan Beeda and Zarda Traders Association seeking a magisterial inquiry into the death besides an interim injunction restraining the Commissioner of Police, Greater Chennai City from interfering "with the peaceful running" of Pan Beeda shops. The Dasara Holidays Vacation court directed the dean to submit the post-mortem report on October 18. The Association alleged that the owner, Srikanth, was brutally attacked by police in the guise of search in connection with selling of Pan Masala and other items.
They claimed that Srikanth was admitted to Hospital in a coma stage and later succumbed to his injuries. The petitioner submitted that they were selling crushed arecanut, lime, gulkandu, tobacco, supri, betel, sweet or savory flavoring which are used for preparing the pan beeda. They submitted that they were purchasing the products from the Registered Manufacturers who have Central Excise Registration, license from Food and Safety Department and other legal requirements. The petitioner also submitted that the members of the association were carrying on their lawful avocation or business by sale of pan products in retail. They further alleged that police officials were not authorized to carry out any search under the Food and Safety act and seize the products worth about lakhs of rupees.
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