A special CBI court in Thiruvananthapuram Wednesday awarded death penalty to two officers of the Kerala Police for the custodial torture and eventual death of Udayakumar, a 27-year-old youth, way back in 2005. K Jithakumar and SV Sreekumar, both civil police officers, have received the highest punishment of the land. A fine of Rs 2 lakh each has also been imposed on the two.
Two other accused, EK Sabu and T Ajithkumar, have been sentenced to six years in jail for abetment to crime and destruction. T K Haridas, another guilty officer, was awarded three years imprisonment.
Prabhavati, Udayakumar’s mother, who pursued the case relentlessly for more than a decade, broke down after the verdict. “God has finally answered my prayers. No police officer should dare to torture anyone like this under the garb of their uniform. I pray to God that no son should ever have to undergo such brutal torture at the hands of the police,” she told reporters
Udayakumar, 27, and his friend Suresh were picked up by officers of the Fort Police station in Thiruvananthapuram on September 27, 2005, from the Sreekandeshwaram Park in the city on charges of theft. Cash amounting to Rs 4500, found in the possession of Udayakumar, was seen as grounds for the duo to be taken into custody. Two constables then tortured Udayakumar to force a confession out of him, beating him mercilessly with cane sticks on his legs and later rolling down a heavy iron pipe down his thighs. This act of third-degree torture by the Kerala Police later came to be known as ‘urutti kola’ (rolling murder) in the local media.
I’ve received the justice I expected. I’m happy. Police should do a thorough probe before someone else meets the same fate as my son: Padmavathi Amma, Udayakumar’s mother on death sentence to policemen K Jithukumar & SV Sreekumar in custodial death case of Udayakumar. #Kerala pic.twitter.com/3tUE28tHZ8
— ANI (@ANI) July 25, 2018
The killing of Udayakumar in custody had created a huge furore in the state unleashing a wave of public protests against the police force and the then-Congress government in power. The eventual trial took years to begin after serious lapses on the part of the police force which initiated the investigation. Later, the CBI took over the case. There were several twists and turns in the case such as fabrication of evidence and witnesses turning hostile in the course of the trial.
On Tuesday, CBI court judge J Nasser had pronounced six officers guilty in connection with Udayakumar’s custodial death. While five of them have been awarded the punishment today, one officer, Soman, passed away during the trial.