Kerala custodial death: Two more policemen arrested

Idukki: Two more police personnel were arrested yesterday in connection with the alleged custodial torture and death of a remand prisoner last month. With this, a total of four police personnel have now been arrested. Assistant Sub Inspector Rejimon and Civil Police officer and driver Niyas were arrested by the Crime branch after nearly eight hours of questioning, police sources said.

Earlier, Sub Inspector K A Sabu and Civil Police officer Sajeev Antony had been arrested. Forty nine-year-old Rajkumar, who was taken in custody in connection with a financial fraud case on 12 June, was allegedly tortured at Nedumkandam police station for four days following which he died at the Peermedu sub jail.

The opposition Congress led UDF had put the LDF government in the dock over the custodial death and had raised the issue in the state assembly, demanding a judicial probe. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had assured that the government would not protect any erring policeman involved in the case.

“No one has the right to keep any person in custody illegally or beat them to death. Such people will no longer be there in the state police service,” he had told the state Assembly. Four police personnel – including the Sub-Inspector, Assistant Sub Inspector and two drivers of Nedumkandam police station – had been suspended and eight others transferred in connection with the incident.

Rajkumar’s death had triggered widespread criticism against the state police and the Home Department, headed by the Chief Minister.