Custodial death: two Kerala cops get death penalty

A special CBI court in Thiruvananthapuram on Wednesday awarded death penalty to two police personnel in connection with the custodial death of a youth in 2005.

The court had on Tuesday found the two personnel – K Jithakumar and S V Sreekumar, both civil police officers at the time of the incident and first and second accused in the case – guilty of custodial torture that led to the death of Udayakumar (27) at the Fort Police Station in Thiruvananthapuram. They were also directed to pay a penalty of Rs 2 lakh each.

CBI special judge J Nasser awarded three-year jail terms each to three other officers - T K Haridas (then assistant commissioner), E K Sabu (then circle inspector) and Ajith Kumar (then sub-inspector) - found guilty of fudging documents and destroying evidence in a cover-up attempt. K V Soman, then additional SI and third accused in the case, died during the trial.

A police team took into custody Udayakumar and his friend Suresh Kumar from the Sreekanteswaram Park in Thiruvananthapuram on September 27, 2005, for suspected theft. After ascertaining that Udayakumar was in possession of Rs 4,020, the policemen subjected him to third-degree treatment at the station to extract a confession, including the use of an iron pipe on his body, inflicting severe injuries that led to his death. The officers charged with conspiracy had registered a false case against Udayakumar after his death.

Suresh was among the witnesses who turned hostile after the trial in the case commenced.

J Prabhavathi, Udayakumar’s aged mother who fought the 13-year-long legal battle, called it a landmark judgement and said it was a verdict she was expecting. “No son should have to suffer like my son did,” she told reporters.

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