Nearly two weeks after a private financier died following alleged torture in police custody in Idukki district of Kerala, two police officers, including a sub-inspector, were arrested by a special Crime Branch unit in connection with the incident on Wednesday.
On Wednesday, after prolonged pressure from the Opposition parties to arrest the culprits, the Crime Branch arrested KA Sabu, former sub-inspector of Nedumkandam police station, and Sajeev Antony, a civil police officer at the station. Investigators are on the lookout for more senior officers who might have been involved in the torture of Rajkumar while he was in police custody and for those who attempted to destroy evidence.
K Rajkumar (49) was taken into police custody at Nedumkandam on June 12 in connection with a chit fund fraud case and was illegally detained until his formal arrest on June 15. A magistrate remanded him to judicial custody for two weeks a day later. Rajkumar reportedly died from an infection due to severe physical trauma on June 21, after he was admitted to a taluk hospital in Peermade. Doctors who conducted his post-mortem found 22 injuries.
The Kerala Assembly has been on standstill as ruling and Opposition parties have been engaging in verbal clashes over the incident. The Congress, in the Opposition, has alleged the local CPM leaders in Nedumkandam pressurised the police to illegally detain and torture Rajkumar in custody. There have also been allegations that Rajkumar’s family was being pressured by local CPM leaders to withdraw the police torture case they had registered. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has promised strict action against the erring policemen.
This is the second incident of alleged custodial torture in the state in the last two years. In a case of mistaken identity in April last year, a youth named Sreejith was arrested from Varapuzha and later beaten mercilessly in custody. He later succumbed to injuries at a private hospital.