Varapuzha custodial death: Four police officers charged with murder

A V George, then Rural SP who constituted Rural Tiger Force, omitted from chargesheet

Published: 17th December 2019 07:12 AM  |   Last Updated: 17th December 2019 07:12 AM   |  A+A-

By Express News Service

KOCHI:  The Crime Branch Special Investigation Team (SIT), which probed the custodial death of 29-year-old Sreejith S R at Varapuzha in April 2018, filed a 1,000-page chargesheet before the North Paravoor Judicial First Class Magistrate Court, invoking murder charges against four police officers, including then Varapuzha SI Deepak G S, on Monday. 

DIG A V George, then Rural SP who constituted the Rural Tiger Force (RTF) and picked up the victim from his house, however, was omitted from the chargesheet, though the SIT had found that the formation of the RTF was illegal. Interestingly, George was named only the 98th witness in the chargesheet.

Of the nine officers accused in the chargesheet, Santhosh Kumar P P, Jithin Raj, Sumesh M S, civil police officers and members of RTF, and former SI G S Deepak, first to fourth accused respectively, were slapped with Sections 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 342 (wrongful confinement) and 302 (murder) of IPC. Former North Paravoor CI Crispin Sam,  ASIs Jayanandan and Santosh Baby, and civil police officers Sunil Kumar and Sreeraj are the other accused.

Besides George, 173 other persons, including police officers, were named as witnesses. The prosecution also submitted 124 documents and 63 material objects before the court. The SIT was headed by IG S Sreejith. The Crime Branch had found that the constitution of RTF was illegal. The arrest of Sreejith was later proved to be a case of mistaken identity. However, the investigation team omitted George’s name from the list of accused persons claiming there was no evidence to prove his direct involvement in the incident.

Sreejith was taken into custody from his house by accused Santhosh Kumar P P, Jithin Raj and Sumesh M S at around 10pm on April 6, 2018. While Sreejith was being escorted to the police jeep, the officers were alleged to have fisted and kicked him, injuring his abdomen in the process. Later, SI Deepak, who was on leave, was summoned and is also alleged to have assaulted him inside the cell, aggravating the injuries already sustained.The cause of death was blunt trauma to the stomach and its subsequent complications - peritonitis, jejunal perforations, septicemia and a multiple organ failure.

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