A day after 26-year-old Sreejith died following alleged custodial torture by Varappuzha police, questions are being raised on whether the police arrested the wrong person in another case.
Sreejith was arrested on Saturday after 56-year-old Vasudevan hanged to death soon after a gang entered his house and allegedly threatened him.
Police had booked Sreejith and several others on charges of abetment to suicide and rioting. Sreejith however, died on Monday night, a day after he was admitted to hospital with abdominal injury.
After residents blocked the National Highway at Varapuzha with the body of deceased Sreejith demanding action against the cops, three officers who took the victim into custody were placed under suspension on Tuesday night.
On Tuesday, Vasudevan's son Vineesh told the media that the police arrested the wrong Sreejith in the case.
"I had taken the name of one Sreejith, but that is someone who lives close to our house. Not the Sreejith cops arrested. He was my friend and was not involved in threatening my father," Vineesh said.
Vineesh’s revelation came on a day the Kerala police came under severe criticism following the death of the accused in custody. The State Human Rights Commission also expressed strong suspicion that Sreejith had died following custodial torture.
Manu, who is a friend of the alleged victim of custodial torture, has said that Vineesh and Sreejith were close friends.
“They confused Sreejith SR with another Sreejith who is also known as Thulasidas. Many others in custody are also innocent. The inability of the cops to arrest the first three accused and the sixth accused shows that they were trying to make do with whomever they got in the raids that night,” said Manu, as per a report by Disney Tom in The Times of India.
Meanwhile, AV George, District Police Chief, Ernakulam Rural, said, “We have a signed copy of Vineesh’s statement, which clearly mentions the deceased youth as one of the accused. We had also taken statements of all the victims before commencing the investigation and all the accused were identified with the help of those living in their neighbourhood.”
An SIT headed by Crime Branch IG S Sreejith has been formed to probe Sreejith's death.