Kerala custodial death: Two cops arrested

Former sub-inspector of Nedumgandam police station K A Sabu and civil police officer Sajeev, were arrested by a Crime Branch special team probing the custodial death of Rajkumar. (Reuters file photo for representation)

Two police personnel, including a sub-inspector, have been arrested in connection with the custodial death of a person at Idukki district in Kerala.

Former sub-inspector of Nedumgandam police station K A Sabu and civil police officer Sajeev Antony, were arrested by a Crime Branch special team probing the custodial death of Rajkumar.

Idukki native Rajkumar, 49, who was held by the Nedumgandam police on June 12, died while on judicial custody at Peerumedu sub-jail in Idukki on June 21. Further investigation revealed that Rajkumar suffered severe custodial torture leading to 22 injuries, including four fractures. Chilli powder was even suspected to be applied on his private parts by the police.

Rajkumar, who was running a private financial firm at Idukki, was held on the basis of complaints of financial cheating. It was suspected that many persons, including local politicians and some police personnel, invested money with the firm. He was allegedly held at the behest of some local politicians who invested money in the firm. Though he was held by the police on June 12, police maintained that he was held only on June 15 and produced before the court on the same night.

However, CCTV footages of the police stations proved that he was held by police on June 12 and was held in illegal custody for three days. Crime Branch also unearthed evidence for manipulations in police records regarding his arrest.

Both Sabu and Sajeev were quizzed by the Crime Branch team for the last two days. Their arrests were recorded on Wednesday morning. Sabu later fainted and was shifted to a nearby hospital.

Eight police personnel, including Sabu and Sajeev, were earlier placed under suspension following 'prima facie' evidence for the custodial torture. 

The Crime Branch invoked murder charges against the two police personnel, apart from illegal detention, destruction of evidence and concealing crime. Some more police personnel were likely to be arraigned in the case soon, said police sources.

The Opposition party in Kerala, Congress, had demanded a judicial probe into the custodial torture and death, which Rajkumar's family demanded a CBI probe.

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