G. Anand

He had gone to

the station to report the loss of

4 kg of gold while

travelling in a bus.

Thiruvananthapuram: A 26-year-old employee of a prominent jewellery shop chain has accused the police of illegally detaining and torturing him in custody at the Haripad police station in Alappuzha district for 12 days this month. M. Sreekesh of Thiruvananthapuram is being treated for cellulites, severe infection of skin and tissue, at a government hospital here.

A doctor who is familiar with his medical condition said there were tie marks near his wrists, straight line cut wounds and bluish contusions near the soles of his feet. The cut wounds were consistent with injuries inflicted using a splintered bamboo cane. The infection had set in possibly because he was in a contaminated environment for a long time without treatment, he said.

Sreekesh told The Hindu from his hospital bed that the Haripad police had detained him on May 13 morning after he went to the station to report the loss of nearly 4 kg of gold, most of it in biscuit form, while transporting it in a bag from his employer’s house at Alappuzha to the firm’s showroom in Kollam.

He said he was travelling in a crowded bus and that somebody had cut open the bag and stolen the gold while he was sleeping.

Story of torture

The police led by Circle Inspector D. Asokan questioned him several times about the theft. They registered a case on the basis of his complaint. On May 18, the police subjected him to a lie detector test (polygraph) at the State Forensic Sciences Laboratory here. He said that on May 23 night, four plainclothesmen stripped him, bound his hands with a wet towel and made him lie on a bench. They beat him on his legs and the soles of his feet with bamboo canes, repeatedly demanding that he tell the truth. The beating continued for two hours, even after the canes splintered.

He said they then used pepper spray, a chemical compound that causes irritation to the skin and eyes, on his eyes and genitals. They poked his nipples several times with the tip of a ballpoint pen.

The policemen later dumped him in the cell. They did not allow him to see his relatives till May 25 night.

Sreekesh’s sister, M. Sreepriya, a nurse, said her younger brother and husband were allowed to see Sreekesh and buy food for him every day till May 24. The police let off Sreekesh only after his condition worsened on May 25 night.

His father, N. Muralidhara Pai, a bank employee, has complained to the State Human Rights Commission.

Police deny it

Mr. Asokan, CI, said Sreekesh was allowed to go with his relatives every day after questioning. He denied that the youth was tortured in police custody.

The polygraph test was done with Sreekesh’s written consent, he said.