Andhra family suicide: Accused cops get bail within 24 hours, appeal filed

Both the accused policemen, circle inspector Somasekhar Reddy and head constable Gangadhar, received bail on Monday in less than 24 hours of arrest.
AP Home Minister M Sucharitha and DGP Guatam Sawang
AP Home Minister M Sucharitha and DGP Guatam Sawang
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The Andhra Pradesh police filed a bail cancellation petition against the two policemen accused of driving a family of four to death in Kurnool district. The family of four recently died by suicide near Nandyal town of Kurnool district, alleging police harassment.  

The victims were identified as Abdul Salaam (45), an auto driver, his wife Noorjahan (38), their daughter Salma (14), and son Dadhi Khalandar (10). The family, in a video before the incident, accused the police officers of harassing Abdul Salaam's family over a theft case.  

Incidentally, both the accused policemen, circle inspector Somasekhar Reddy and head constable Gangadhar, received bail on Monday in less than 24 hours of arrest, even though serious non-bailable sections were included in the case against them.

Higher authorities in the wake of allegations of police excess and harassment, have tasked Shankha Brata Bagchi, Inspector General of Police (IGP), AP Special Police Battalions, and Arif Hafeez, Additional SP of Guntur, to probe into the incident. 

"As the accused in question are part of the local law enforcement machinery and are likely to hamper the investigation by threatening the witnesses, a bail cancellation petition seeking immediate cancellation of bail awarded to the accused has been moved," said an official.

Some of the grounds cited by the state police for cancelling the bail include witnesses turning hostile as the accused could intimidate new witnesses and hamper the investigation by threatening the witnesses.

Incidentally, the investigating authorities are in possession of incriminating evidence against the accused, including the presence of eyewitnesses who point directly at them. The police are also in possession of the video the family made before taking the extreme step. The family of four died by suicide last Wednesday. 

Meanwhile, Home Minister Mekathoti Sucharita stressed the need for friendly policing and said the guilty will not be spared. She announced an ex-gratia of Rs 25 lakh to the lone survivor of the family.

Sucharita said Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy immediately intervened in the case, giving orders to arrest the accused, along with an in-depth enquiry. She said the accused were arrested within 24 hours and Jagan personally directed the Director General of Police (DGP) Gautam Sawang to investigate the case.

"Department action has been initiated against Somasekhar Reddy and Gangadhar who have been booked under IPC Sections 306 (abetment to suicide), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), and 324 (voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons or means)," she said.

According to the Home Minister, the CM said that such kind of incidents will not be ignored and serious action will be taken. The government is also planning to set up a dedicated toll-free number at the district level for people to complain if they are falsely framed in any police case or troubled in the name of investigation. Sawang said action would be taken against the police if they harass people, including registering criminal cases against them.

Opposition leader and TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu has asked the government to take moral responsibility for the deaths. 

(With IANS inputs )

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