KOCHI: Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala on Monday blamed Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan for the rising number of police atrocities in the state. He said Pinarayi should give up the Home portfolio with "immediate effect" as he had become an "utter failure".
Chennithala, who launched a 24-hour fast at Marine Drive here on Monday demanding a CBI probe into the custodial death of Varapuzha native S R Sreejith, said the Chief Minister has not yet spoken about the custodial death due to his "guilty conscience". Chennithala said he suspects the role of the CPM district committee in the torture of the Varapuzha native.
"This is the sixth custodial death after the LDF Government came to power. The Chief Minister has exposed his incompetence in handling the police force," Chennithala told Express. Another incident of incompetence of the Home Department is the manner in which the police handled the missing case of Latvian Liga Skromane, he said. Chennithala said the police simply looked the other way for the first 10 days after Liga's sister (Ilze Skromane) reported to the police her sister was missing from Thiruvallam.
The police laxity in handling the Latvian missing case has brought bad name to Kerala in international circles, he said.
The Opposition leader was also highly critical about the role played by A V George, former Ernakulam rural SP, who was transferred to Thrissur Police Academy. "First of all, who gave the police officer (George) the power to set up the Rural Tiger Force (RTF). I have been a Home Minister myself. There is no provision under the Kerala Police Act to form any force by an individual officer," he said. Stern action should be taken against him for setting up the RTF, which manhandled Sreejith, resulting in his death, he said.
Reportedly, three members of RTF were involved in taking Sreejith into custody from his house on April 6. They were later arrested by the Special Investigation Team probing the case.
Chennithala said the transfer of George to Thrissur Police Academy cannot be considered a punishment. "Police academy is for training the officers. What kind of message the government is giving by transferring him to the police academy?" he asked.
Earlier, senior leader and former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, who inaugurated the 24-hour fast, said the Chief Minister should quit owning moral responsibility in the custodial death of Sreejith.