The police submitted in the Madras High Court that Mugilan was seen walking out of the Egmore Railway station in Chennai but there was no sign of him re-entering
In the hearing on the Habeas Corpus petition by Justice M Sathyanarayanan and Justice Nirmal Kumar in the Madras High Court on Friday, Railway Police told the court that CCTV footage of the Egmore Railway Station showed missing activist Mugilan leaving the station but not re-entering. The police suggested that Mugilan had perhaps taken an alternate mode of transport to Madurai, a contention hotly refuted by the activist’s friends and colleagues. An environmental activist based in Tamil Nadu, Mugilan had allegedly ‘disappeared’ hours after he released a video charging senior police officers with “negligence” and “collusion” in the Tuticorin police firing
“The police are trying to imply that Mugilan never got on the train,” said Aseervatham, State Coordinator of HRDA (Human Rights Defenders’ Alert–India). “But I feel this is wrong information. He always takes trains and usually travels by unreserved compartment. Even if he came out of the Egmore railway station, it must have to eat some food at a cheaper ‘kayyendhi bhavan’ (roadside food stall) because the food inside the station is expensive. He had told me and two others that he was taking the train to Madurai. The police is trying to hide something. It has been over five days since he went missing. It is difficult to believe they are unable to find him,” he said.
Aseervatham also told The Lede that he had received a few calls from a person claiming to be the Inspector of Olakkur police station.
Tamil Nadu police informed the court that Community Service Registers have been registered at Olakkur Police Station in Villupuram district and at Kancheepuram police station in Kancheepuram district.
Mugilan, according to the petitioner Henri Tiphagne of People’s Watch NGO, was not reachable on his mobile phone since 1.45 am in the wee hours of February 16. Mugilan had told three of his colleagues that he was taking the Nagercoil Special train on February 15 to reach Madurai the next morning. Mugilan did not arrive in Madurai.
Tamil Nadu police also informed the court that the mobile number given by the petitioner as that of Mugilan was registered in someone else’s name. The number was active only until Kancheepuram and not until Olakkur.
The Public Prosecutor arguing on behalf of the state said that the FIR filed with the Railway Police has been transferred to F-2 Egmore Police Station.
The Madras High Court has impleaded the Inspector of Police of F-2 Egmore Police Station as well as the Deputy Commissioner of Police, Triplicane to investigate and report at the next hearing on March 4.