THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The state government has decided to hand over the sensational Nedumkandam custodial death case to the Central Bureau of Investigation. The decision was taken in the cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Wednesday. The Additional Chief Secretary (Home) has been entrusted with initiating the necessary process.
Earlier, the family of the victim, Rajkumar, had filed a petition before the Kerala High Court seeking a CBI probe in the case. Sources said the government took the decision following severe criticism from the High Court. The court had observed that the police investigation in the case looked biased and there were some missing links.
The court made the oral observation while considering the bail petition filed by K A Sabu, the suspended sub-inspector of Nedumkandam police station and the first accused in the Rajkumar custodial death case. He was granted bail in the case.
Kolahalamedu resident Rajkumar, 49, was taken into custody on charges of financial fraud on June 12 and produced before the court only on June 15. He died on June 21 during remand custody. Rajkumar’s wife, Viji, alleged that her husband was subjected to brutal torture in custody. Rajkumar’s autopsy report said there were 22 wounds, including fractures and contusion. Last week, the fresh autopsy, conducted by a team of forensic experts on the instructions of the Judicial Commission constituted by the state government, also found that severe torture had led to Rajkumar’s death.
The report stated that “the death was due to complications of multiple blunt injuries on the body”.
The examination spotted multiple contusions on the back of the trunk and back of thighs. The contusions were grave in nature with nearly 15 cm to 20 cm in length and four cm to five cm in-depth on both thighs and the back of the trunk. The fresh autopsy found 22 new injuries which might have caused acute damage to the kidneys and other organs. Hence, the reason for death has been changed from pneumonia to multiple organ failure, the report said.
The nature of injuries clearly indicated custodial torture. The examination also found bleeding at the joint portion of the thighs, giving ample evidence that Rajkumar’s legs were stretched to opposite sides during the custodial torture. The state government had earlier handed over the probe to the Crime Branch owing to the demand from the victim’s family and the accused were police personnel. The Crime Branch had questioned SI Sabu.
Sabu had given a statement that he had kept Rajkumar in custody after informing the higher officers and getting permission from them. Sabu had also forwarded Rajkumar’s photo and details to the then Idukki SP and Kattappana DySP via WhatsApp and informed the superior officers about the progress in the investigation over the phone when he was in their custody from June 12 to June 16. However, the Crime Branch could not question any higher officials.
Fourth accused gets bail
Kochi: The Kerala High Court on Wednesday granted bail to suspended Civil Police Officer Sajeev Antony, who is the fourth accused in a case related to the custodial torture and death of Rajkumar, a remand prisoner at Nedumkandam police station on June 21. The court ordered the accused should furnish Rs 40,000 and two solvent sureties for the like sum.
The death was due to “complications of multiple blunt injuries on the body”. The fresh autopsy found 22 new injuries