Custodial killing exposes arbitrary shifting of police lock-up

Goa police had initiated an inquiry into the alleged custodial killing of NRI Cypriano Fernandes, to ascertain whether there were any procedural lapses.

Sources stated that Fernandes, who was kept in Panaji police station as there was no lock-up available that day, was allegedly killed in police custody.

A senior officer said that few days before the custodial killing was reported, Inspector General of Police Sundari Nanda had verbally ordered, without any formal notification, scrapping of the police lockup situated beneath the office of DGP in police headquarters and it was shifted to Agassaim police station, 15 km from here.

Fernandes, who had returned from abroad, was arrested on January 7 on the charges of threatening his woman friend. The NRI was later referred to the Goa Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) as he complained of ill-health while being at the police station. He died subsequently next day.

The magisterial inquiry had concluded that he was hit with a hard object which resulted in his death.

"Inspector General of Police Sundari Nanda had given a verbal instruction to immediately shift the custodial lock- up," a senior official said.

Nanda is currently transferred from Goa and was unavailable for comments.

Police Inspector Sandesh Chodankar, Sub Inspector Radesh Ramnathkar and Constable Sandip Shirvaikar were suspended after Cypriano died while being in the custody.

They were charged with the procedural lapses including keeping the accused in the police station and also not referring him to the medical check-up.

Sources stated that after Cypriano's death, the police custodial lock-up was again shifted to Police Headquarter building although little away from its earlier location.

The suspended policemen had also been questioned for keeping the accused in police station and not shifting him to the custodial lock-up.

Cypriano's body still lies in the government mortuary, as his family members have demanded arrest of policemen responsible for his death.

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