KOCHI: State Police Complaint Authority (SPCA) Chairman Justice K Narayana Kurup on Thursday took exception to the ‘negligence’ on the part of policemen in connection with the death of Siby, a 40-year-old Marangattupilly native, allegedly due to custodial torture. SPCA, in the sitting held here, handed over a questionnaire to eight policemen of the Marangattupilly police station, including the suspended Station House Officer, K A Georgekutty, as part of the inquiry into the incident.
“How can an unconscious person be first taken to police station rather than to a hospital,” Justice Kurup asked. “There were two swellings on the head of the deceased. He was found lying on the roadside near a Primary Health Centre (PHC) around 8.30 pm on June 29 at Marangattupilly. One of the witnesses gave statement that she saw policemen catching hold of him by legs and shoulders and placing him inside the jeep. He remained unconscious at the police station for 12 hours till June 30 morning. Police wasted these critical hours as medical aid at that time could have saved his life. It was only after 12 hours, that good sense dawned on the policemen who then though of giving him medical treatment. Incidents like this happen due to lack of proper training to the police officers,” he observed.
However, Justice Kurup said it was too early to say that the death occurred due to custodial torture. “The statement of an important witness is that Siby was unconscious when the police picked him from the roadside. We have to confirm whether he regained consciousness at the police station. Amal, a 17-year-old boy, who was at the PHC, had followed Siby when the latter walked past the building. When Amal returned after few minutes, his shirt seemed stained by dirt. He had confessed to a doctor at the PHC that there was a scuffle between him and Siby. He revealed this the next day of the incident, when he visited the doctor for treating a small injury on his chin. We would be meeting Amal again in the coming days,” he said.
The parents of Siby, after coming to know about the incident, rushed to the police station at night.
Siby was found lying in front of the station in the rain. His mother dried his hair and at that time, she could not find any swelling on his head. The post-mortem report said Siby died after being hit by a blunt object, which might have caused the swelling, closed wound and brain haemorrhage. It can also occur if he got his head hit against a wall. What caused the injury is crucial in this case.
Justice Kurup asked the policemen that since Siby committed a minor offence, why was he not released in the presence of his parents. On this, the policemen replied that Siby was unconscious and unable to walk, so they did take him home.
The questionnaire, running into 9 pages and containing 67 questions, was handed over to K A Georgekutty, SHO under suspension, Civil Police Officers Jayan P C, George Thomas, Reji Joseph, Manoj D, Srinivasan V D, K C Rajappan and George.
Criminologist Ajith Kumar, Prasad and other officials with the SPCA were present during the sitting. The case will be taken up again after two weeks.