KOCHI: The Home Department on Monday issued permission to the Crime Branch to initiate prosecution proceedings against the nine accused police officers in the sensational Varapuzha custodial death case.
The investigation team had been awaiting the order as it had completed the inquiry a few months ago. Sreejith died in police custody on April 9, 2018, after he was picked up by the Rural Tiger Force (RTF) which was directly under A V George, the then Ernakulam Rural SP.
While the police are yet to file a charge sheet, the clean chit to George, who was suspended for his alleged involvement in the case, has raised many eyebrows in the police circles.
Though the family members of Sreejith had pointed fingers at George, the Crime Branch investigation team had exempted him. Sources within the state police said the department-level inquiry against George was only an eyewash and he would be promoted once election code of conduct is withdrawn.
The Crime Branch, which probed the 29-year-old’s death, had found the constitution of the RTF by George was illegal. The arrest of Sreejith was later proved to be a case of mistaken identity. However, the investigation team deleted George’s name from the list of accused persons claiming there was no evidence to prove his direct involvement in the incident. George, initially transferred before placed under suspension, was reinstated in service as SP Intelligence.
Sreejith was the father of a two-year-old. The state government had given Rs 10 lakh compensation to Sreejith’s family and a government job to his wife Akhila. Though Akhila moved High Court seeking a CBI inquiry into the matter, it dismissed the petition.