Custodial torture: CB charges two officers with culpable homicide

Based on the detailed post-mortem report and scientific examination results, the Crime Branch (CB) team investigating the Vadakara custodial torture and death case has found the incident as a case of culpable homicide not amounting to murder.

In the wake of the fresh finding, two police officers, Sub Inspector Nijeesh and Civil Police Officer Prajeesh, who were earlier placed under suspension in connection with the incident, were charged under Section 304 (punishment for culpable homicide not amounting to murder) of the Indian Penal Code. A fresh report adding the newly invoked Section was also submitted to the Vadakara Judicial First Class Magistrate Court on Saturday.

According to Crime Branch officers, Ponmeriparambil Sajeevan, a native of Kalleri, reportedly died of cardiac arrest as a result of the ill-treatment he faced at the police station. Earlier, it was registered as a case of unnatural death under Section 174 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. Two other officers including an Assistant Sub Inspector booked in connection with the incident were not found involved in the manhandling attempt.

Quoting the detailed post-mortem report, a senior CB officer said there were 11 ante-mortem injuries including lacerations, contusions, and aberrations on the body of the victim, who was declared dead at the Vadakara Co-operative Hospital on July 21. “Although the man had symptoms of coronary artery disease, it was reportedly the manhandling attempt by the two police officers that triggered the sudden cardiac arrest and death,” the officer told. The Hindu.

In the CB investigation, it was also found that all the ante-mortem wounds were inflicted in just 24 hours before the death. With the heart ailment, he was unable to withstand the upsetting experience he faced at the police station. Also, the police officers had been held accountable for not giving him timely medical care.

It was on July 21 that Sajeevan was taken into police custody in connection with a road accident case in Vadakara. The man who was allegedly roughed up by the police collapsed after coming out of the station building. He was later declared dead at the Vadakara Co-operative Hospital.

It was one of his friends who revealed the details of the suspected assault that he reportedly witnessed at the station to the local people. Later, Sajeevan’s family members and various political parties took it up for spot action. The case, initially investigated by a Deputy Superintendent of Police, was handed over to the Crime Branch following a state government order.

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