Kerala

2 officers may face action for fraud suspect’s death

Chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan

Chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan   | Photo Credit: S. Mahinsha

The State police are weighing action against at least two supervisory officers in connection with the death of private financier and cheating case suspect Rajkumar, 49, in Idukki, on June 21.

Officials pointed out that in the Varappuzha Sreejith custodial murder case in 2018, the government had suspended the then District Police Chief Ernakulam, A.V. George, citing vicarious responsibility for the youth’s death. The Police Headquarters (PHQ) might apply the same yardstick in Rajkumar’s case.

The Crime Branch (CB), which investigated the Varappuzha case, brought no criminal charges against Mr. George and the government later reinstated him with a promotion.

Cover-up attempt

Officials privy to the CB investigation into Rajkumar’s death said preliminary evidence pointed to a well planned but largely inept cover-up of the small time financier’s death.

The agency has stumbled upon attempts to fabricate station house and treatment records and also found yawning gaps in the police narrative of the incident.

Fake record

The Idukki police had also inexactly told the government that they had arrested Rajkumar on June 15 night. Later, evidence emerged that the police had detained him on June 12.

The CB also reportedly noted an alleged attempt by the police to dodge responsibility by creating a fake record that they had let Rajkumar out on bail from Nedukandam station on June 13.

Officials said the CB was probing whether law enforcers had denied Rajkumar treatment in custody.

They said the local intelligence had reportedly briefed the District Police Chief and the Sub Divisional Officer about Rajkumar’s detention.

Many charges

Given the gamut of evidence accumulating fast against the Idukki police, the CB was purportedly on the cusp of registering a case of murder, illegal detention, conspiracy and destruction of evidence against a set of officers.

The damning autopsy report, harrowing accounts of Rajkumar’s family and the Opposition’s increasingly shrill demand for a judicial enquiry could result in the speedy arrests.

An early indication of the government’s thinking came when Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan inveighed against custodial torture at a police facility in Thrissur on Sunday.

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Printable version | Feb 21, 2020 2:46:24 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/custodial-death-police-ponder-action-against-supervisory-officers/article28235555.ece

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