Staff Reporter

For all deaths in custody

Thiruvananthapuram: Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan on Wednesday said the Government would soon take steps to make magisterial inquiry mandatory as envisaged in the amended Criminal Procedure Code for deaths in custody.

Addressing a press conference here, Mr. Balakrishnan said magisterial inquiry in deaths in police custody was made mandatory with the

Union Government amending Section 176 of the Cr.PC recently.

Stating that the State Government was for implementing it at the earliest, the Home Minister said: "We will be requesting the High Court soon to issue necessary directives in this regard to all courts in the State."

Mr. Balakrishnan said the practice of holding judicial inquiry on pressure from political parties and others into such deaths would end once the mandatory probe commenced.

On the issue of the High Court refusing to provide the service of a sitting judge for the judicial inquiry ordered by the Government into the deaths in custody after the LDF came to power in the State, he said the Government would discuss the matter with the High Court.

The Home Minister said the Government was concerned and serious about custodial deaths. On the custodial deaths in Pathanamthitta and Idukki districts on Tuesday and Wednesday, he said the incidents were not due to "torture by police".

On compensation for the kin of victims of custodial deaths, Mr. Balakrishnan said the Government would look into the issue after the judicial probe.

Tourism development

Mr. Balakrishnan said the Government would take steps to strengthen the Kerala Tourism Development Corporation (KTDC). He said properties owned by the KTDC in Chennai and Mumbai would be developed as part of the strategy. The guesthouse in Mumbai would be commissioned in November.