Rajinikanth wrote on the micro blogging website, "I was shocked to know that the cops in Sathankulam police station refused to cooperate with the magistrate's probe in the inhumane brutal torture of police which killed the father-son duo". Jayaraj died on June 22 night and his son Fennix (Benicks) on June 23 morning in judicial custody.
They had been arrested for allegedly keeping their store open past permitted hours during the coronavirus lockdown.
The court ordered authorities to provide protection to a woman police officer who gave an eyewitness account of torture in custody of the two in the police station.
"The deaths of Jayaraj and Bennicks [Bennix] once again signal towards India's continuing failure to hold its police accountable", said Avinash Kumar, executive director of Amnesty International India, in a statement last week. The reports were damaging, the court added.
Based on a report by the local magistrate who is investigating the deaths, the high court first said there was a "prima facie" case of murder against the main accused.
Hours later, the five policemen were arrested.
The court also asked if it might be possible for the Inspector General of Police (IG) or Tirunelveli Crime Branch - Criminal Investigation Department (CB-CID) to continue investigations, before the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) takes over.
The Tamil Nadu government told the court that police officers were hostile with inquiring magistrate "because of enormous pressure on them".
"They [police] were emboldened enough to even intimidate the judicial officer to put spokes in the wheel of his enquiry", the court said.
It initiated contempt of court proceedings against three officers named by the magistrate. The Madras High Court had directed a CB-CID probe into the matter although the state government had transferred the case to the CBI.
Hundreds of thousands of tweets were sent out using the hashtag #JusticeforJayarajandBennix, that was among the top Twitter topics trending in India last Friday and among the top 30 trending globally, with many comparing the deaths to that of Floyd, who died after a white police officer knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes.
Meanwhile, the Tuticorin district administration on Tuesday deputed officials to take "control" of Sathankulam police station, in line with a Madras High Court directive that it be brought under the Revenue department.
The state government has now moved 30 new officers to the police station to fill the vacant positions. They were taken to the police station and allegedly subjected to custodial torture, which left them profusely bleeding from the rectum.