CBI takes over probe into Kerala custodial death case

A file photo of Rajkumar’s mother protesting near the Kerala Assembly.

A file photo of Rajkumar’s mother protesting near the Kerala Assembly.  

Agency registers case against seven policemen.

The CBI has registered a case against seven policemen after it took over the probe into the alleged custodial torture, leading to the death, of a 49-year-old man, in Kerala’s Idukki in June last year.

Those named in the FIR are the then sub-inspector, Sabu K.A., assistant sub-inspectors Regimon C.B. and Roy P. Varghese, civil police officers Jithin K. George, Niyas S. and Sajeev Antony, and Home Guard James K.M. They were all posted at the Nedumkandam police station.

It is alleged that Rajkumar, facing charges of financial fraud, was picked up on the night of June 12, 2019, and subjected to third-degree torture during interrogation. The accused policemen claimed to have taken him into custody on June 16 last. He died five days later in the Peermedu sub-jail.

Multiple injuries

It was initially claimed that Rajkumar died of a natural cause, but a fresh post-mortem revealed multiple injuries, including fractures, contusions and bleeding. He was allegedly beaten up with canes, and chilli powder was used to torture him. The State government had ordered the Crime Branch to probe the death. But Rajkumar’s family moved the High Court for a CBI probe. In October 2019, the court directed the CBI to get all documents from the police.

Rajkumar’s family approached the High Court again, arguing that the CBI was yet to take over the probe. The State government submitted that it had already issued a notification referring the case to the CBI.

Subsequently, earlier this month, the High Court directed the agency to re-register the FIR immediately.

Some of the accused got bail last year. However, the Supreme Court cancelled their bail on December 16, 2019, pointing to the nature and number of the injuries — 22 — and the fact that the accused was in police custody and the previous report indicated no such injury on his person.

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Printable version | Feb 23, 2020 6:26:01 PM |

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