'Govt is indifferent to custodial death probe'

'Govt is indifferent to custodial death probe'

National People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) Vice President P B D’Sa on Friday accused the government of being biased for failing to hand over the ‘custodial death’ of PUCL district president David D’Souza to Criminal Investigation Department (CID) for an in-depth enquiry.

On the evening of July 2, 2015, D’Souza had accompanied one Stany Fernandes, who was summoned to Mangaluru rural police station, in connection with a complaint filed by his wife. “David, who got into a verbal argument with Stany’s wife, was dragged to a room by the then police inspector and a constable. After some time, Stany witnessed the police shifting an unconscious D’Souza to the nearest hospital. The police later informed about D’Souza’s death in the hospital to his wife,’’ P B D’sa told media persons at ‘Pauline’ in Valencia.

Close on the heels of the activist’s death, PUCL had written to Mangaluru commissioner of police demanding stringent action against police involved in the custodial death. The police, however, had misled them into believing that the case had been handed over to CID for an in-depth investigation. “Former High Court Judge Justice M F Saldanha’s letter to National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Karnataka State Human Rights Commission (KSHRC), highlighting the murder in police custody, was ignored,’’ D’Sa rued.

There was also no enquiry by a judicial magistrate, he said and recollected how DySP Ganapathy’s suicide case was quickly referred to CID in order to exonerate then minister George of all charges. D’Sa said that their applications seeking a copy of the post-mortem report on D’Souza’s death under RTI were rejected. Then home minister Ramalinga Reddy, on receiving a memorandum, had promised to punish the guilty, he said.

“As government and police had been indifferent to D’Souza’s custodial death case, we intend to organise a string of protests until the victim’s family secures justice,” PUCL patron member Hanif Shah said.

PUCL District Secretary Kishore Attavar, PUCL’s advisory members Gerome Saldanha were also present.