Prime accused in veterinary student’s death arrested, special team to probe case

The accused was arrested invoking Sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Kerala Prohibition of Ragging Act.

Updated - March 01, 2024 02:53 pm IST

Published - February 29, 2024 08:57 pm IST - KALPETTA

An indefinite relay hunger fast launched by the KSU Wayanad district committee in front of the Kerala Veterinary and Animal Sciences University at Pookode in Wayanad district on Thursday demanding the arrest of the accused in Siddharth’s death..

An indefinite relay hunger fast launched by the KSU Wayanad district committee in front of the Kerala Veterinary and Animal Sciences University at Pookode in Wayanad district on Thursday demanding the arrest of the accused in Siddharth’s death..

The prime accused in the ragging case that reportedly led to the suicide of a student of the College of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, Pookode, was arrested from Palakkad on Thursday. The police identified the arrested as K. Akhil, 23, of Amayur Kottayil at Pattambi in Palakkad district.

On the day, K. Arun and Amal Ishan, two other accused in the case, surrendered before the police here. Arun is the college union president and a member of the Students’ Federation of India (SFI), and Amal is the SFI unit secretary. Their arrest was recorded by the police on Friday morning.

J.S. Siddharth, 20, a second-year Bachelor of Veterinary Science and Animal Husbandry student, was found hanging in the hostel bathroom on February 18.

Akhil was arrested invoking various Sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Kerala Prohibition of Ragging Act, the police said. Six out of the 18 accused in the case were arrested on Wednesday, though they were not among the 12 main accused. Eleven of the 12 main accused in the case are still absconding.

Accused suspended

The police initially lodged a case of unnatural death and registered a case against 12 persons for various offences, including abetment to suicide, wrongful restraint, and voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons or means, under the IPC and the Kerala Prohibition of Ragging Act. The university had suspended the accused from the institution and hostel.

The post-mortem report revealed that the victim was brutally attacked for two to three days. “He had sustained multiple blunt injuries, including tramline contusion, (an injury, as from a blow with a blunt instrument, in which the subsurface tissue is injured but the skin is not broken), for two to three days, indicating assault on the body,” the report said.

Governor Arif Mohammed Khan wrote to the State Police Chief about the complaints received from the family of Siddharth who was allegedly subjected to cruelty which resulted in his death. He demanded the arrest of the culprits.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan ordered the State police to constitute a Special Investigation Team to probe the death of Siddharth. His parents alleged that members of the Students Federation of India (SFI) college unit had shamed and brutalised him and spread the canard that he had misbehaved with women students.

Oppn. allegation

Leader of the Opposition V.D. Satheesan alleged leaders of the Students’ Federation of India (SFI) murdered Siddharth. He said they put him on an inquisitorial public trial that involved brutal torture. Mr. Satheesan said the police, at the instance of the CPI(M), initially attempted to brush off Siddharth’s death as suicide without conducting a proper investigation. He said the Congress would launch an aggressive street agitation if the suspects were not brought to book.

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