KOLLAM: Two policemen were sentenced to life imprisonment and imposed a fine of ` one lakh each for the custodial death of a man in the East Police Station here in 2005.
Additional Sessions Court VI Judge K S Sarathchandran pronounced the verdict on Friday sentencing Jayakumar, 47, of Madathil Puthenveedu of Thrikkadavoor and Venugopal, 48, of Eravipuram, to life Imprisonment. Jayakumar is working in Kollam City DCRB and Venugopal at Eravipurm CI office. The duo were members of the Crime Squad of East Police Station when the incident occurred.
The incident pertaining to the case occurred on April 6, 2005, when Rajendran of Kottarakkara died in police custody. On the fateful day, Rajendran was detained by the East Police on charges of robbery following the complaint of a stolen mobile by a private hospital here. Rajendran was apprehended by the security staff of the hospital and was taken into custody by ASI of East Police Station Sadanandan.
Later SI Babu of the same station received Rajendran in custody and was handed over to Jayakumar and Venugopal of Crime Squad. Rajendran was interrogated by the duo at the Sardar Vallabhai Patel Museum, located on the East Police Station premises, by around 2.20 pm. He was brutally assaulted and was taken to the District Hospital where he was declared brought dead.
The guilty were charged under sections 302, 348 and 34 for murder, wrongful confinement and common intention of the crime respectively. “This is the first such case in the past 25 years where the policemen were sentenced for custodial death. The case was proved on circumstantial evidence,” said Additional Government Pleader and public prosecutor Kottiyam N Ajith Kumar.
The prosecution cross-examined 37 witnesses out of which 34 were Police officers. It is said that the cases involving custodial deaths are difficult to prove as eyewitnesses are often policemen. The Supreme Court has given detailed guidelines considering the difficulty.