A special court of the CBI in Thiruvananthapuram on Wednesday sentenced to death by hanging two police men for torturing to death Udayakumar, 26, at the Fort police station in the city in 2005.
The CBI Special Judge Nazar handed down the capital punishment to K. Jithukumar and S. V. Sreekumar. The victim’s 67-year-old single-mother, Prabhavathi Amma, was in court, clad in white, to hear the verdict. The accused officers wept as they listened to the order.
The judge said he found no mitigating circumstances to reduce the quantum of punishment. “Law enforcers are protectors of life and property and not death dealers. The accused had killed an innocent person in their custody,” he said.
Justice Nazar ruled the crime fell in the rarest of the rare category that deserved death. Their illegal actions had severely eroded public trust in the law enforcement and caused social harm.
The court also awarded three-year imprisonment to retired SPs T.K. Haridas and E.K. Sabu and Dy. SP Ajith Kumar for having attempted to cover up the crime by destroying evidence and falsifying police station records. It granted bail to them
The case touched a raw nerve among people because of Parvathy Amma’s protracted and determined legal battle to bring to justice the killers of her only son. It had also prompted a public discussion on police brutality and led to widespread condemnation of third-degree methods.
Parvathy Amma thanked the media for the outpouring of social support their coverage of the case had triggered. She said no other mother should suffer her fate. “They killed my son during an Onam 13 years ago. Now they will spend their Onam in prison. No court will pardon them. They killed an innocent man. God has heard a mother’s prayer”, she said. Ms Parvathy also thanked E. K. Raju of the CPI and her brother for their staunch support.
The case has come as a legal victory for the CBI. It had bolstered its case against the local police by flipping seven suspect officers, who were present at the station on the day of the crime, in favour of the prosecution. It also relied heavily on sworn statements of crime scene experts and forensic doctors.
Held along with history-sheeter
The CBI’s case was that K. Jithukumar and S.V. Sreekumar apprehended Udayakumar, along with his friend Suresh Kumar, from Sreekanteswaram Park around 2 p.m. on September 27, 2005. Suresh was a history-sheeter with a long police record of petty theft. Their suspicion was aroused when they found ₹4,000 with Udayakumar.
The prosecution case was that Jithukumar and S.V. Sreekumar along with another colleague K.V. Soman bound Udayakumar to the bench spreadeagled and inflicted crush injuries on his thighs purportedly to extract a confession.
Three women police constables, officers on sentry duty and those in charge of the State General Diary, stated that they had seen the accused officers escorting out Udayakumar in a weakened state. The same night, the police rushed him to the hospital where he was pronounced brought dead.