KERALA

Custodial death: constables arrested, remanded

Crime Branch keeps identity of five other accused under wraps

Staff Reporter

KOLLAM: Two constables attached to the Kollam East Police Station have been arrested by the Crime Branch under charges of murder in connection with the April 6 custodial death at the police station. The arrested constables were identified as Jayakumar and Venugopal. Judicial First Class Magistrate-II K.G. Sanal Kumar remanded both to custody for 14 days. Their application for bail will come up before the same court on July 7.

Crime Branch SP V.R. Reghuvarma, who made the arrests, said that the constables were arrested late in the evening on Monday. At the time of the custodial death, the arrested duo was attached to the Crime Squad of the then Kollam East Circle Inspector R. Rajkumar. The case pertains to the death of a 26-year-old man, Rajendran, while in custody at the police station.

More accused

The Crime Branch investigations have identified seven policemen attached to the police station as accused in the case. However, the names of the remaining five are not being revealed. Mr. Reghuvarma said that identity of the five and the nature of the offence they had committed will be revealed only after discussions with the Crime Branch top brass.

But according to sources, the five are likely to be charged with offences relating to "lapse in supervision.''

The case

Rajendran was taken into custody from a private hospital on charges of theft. On being brought to the police station, he was taken to the adjacent Police Museum complex for "interrogation'' by the two constables.

On being brought back to the police station, Rajendran was virtually in a critical condition. Crime Branch investigations revealed that he was brutally assaulted at the museum complex with the aim of forcing a confession from him. The investigations also showed that he neither had a criminal history nor was he involved in any theft at the hospital.

The investigation report states that those at the police station knew quite well that Rajendran was fighting for life and "deliberately avoided taking him to a hospital so that he will not be in a position to give a dying declaration.''

Circle inspector Rajkumar and the then Additional Sub-Inspector of the station, Babu, had been placed under suspension in connection with the death.

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