Kerala cops responsible for Rajkumar's custodial death to be dismissed

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The Kerala government has decided to dismiss nine Kerala police officials, who were accused in the Nedumkandam custodial death case, from service. It was in June 2019 that 49-year-old K Rajkumar was taken into custody by officials of the Nedumkandam police station in connection with a financial fraud case. He was later tortured brutally and died.

A special cabinet meeting, chaired by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, took the decision based on the report of the judicial commission that probed the custodial death. "The cabinet has decided to accept the findings and recommendations of the Justice Narayana Kurup Commission. This includes the recommendation of dismissal of police officials responsible for the custodial death," the state government said in a release.

In January this year, the commission had submitted a 150-page report to the government. The deceased, K Rajkumar, was taken into custody on June 12, 2019, by police at Nedumkandam and was produced before a magistrate on June 16. However, he was allegedly tortured for the next four days, following which he was admitted to the Peermade Taluk hospital, where he died on June 21.

As per post mortem report, Rajkumar had over 20 wounds on his body, including severe fractures in his ribs and sternum. The report also revealed that he was subjected to the infamous Falanga torture where the soles of the victim’s feet are continuously beaten. Witnesses had also stated that the police had allegedly even tortured him by applying chilli on his wounds and private parts.

After public outcry, the state government appointed the judicial commission to look into various aspects related to the custodial death, including the circumstances leading to it.

Justice Kurup had ordered exhuming of the body and a re- postmortem as he found several lapses in the first autopsy report, one of which was that the internal organs of the deceased had not been sent for expert examination. The second autopsy report had revealed new injuries.

The CBI, which was probing the case, filed the chargesheet in the case earlier this month before the Chief Judicial Magistrate court at Kochi, naming nine police officers. The probe agency has named a sub-inspector, two assistant sub-inspectors, two police drivers, a home guard and three civil police officers. The CBI has charged them under various provisions of the Indian Penal Code, including Sections 302 (murder), 343 (wrongful confinement), 348 (wrongful confinement for extortion), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), among others.

With PTI inputs