Even as a judicial probe is currently underway in the alleged custodial death of a financial agent in Keralaâ€™s Idukki district last month, the state government on Wednesday decided to hand over the case to the CBI.
Rajkumar, 49, a small-time financial agent, allegedly died in custody on June 21 after being subjected to brutal third-degree torture at the Nedumkandam police station.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, at a weekly cabinet meeting, announced the decision to hand over the case to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) after demands from the victim's family and the Congress-led opposition.
Rajkumar's body was on July 29 exhumed to ascertain the actual cause of death, under orders of the judicial commission of Justice K. Narayana Kurup.
Rajkumar, who was a native of Kolahalamedu in Vagamon was arrested by the Nedumkandam police on June 12 in connection with a financial fraud case. However, his arrest was recorded only on June 16, four days after he was taken into custody. Rajkumar died on June 21 and even though the post-mortem mentions that pneumonia was the cause of death, it clearly states that the victim had suffered blunt force injuries.
When TNM accessed the autopsy report, it was found that there were 22 injuries across Rajkumarâ€™s body. Four of his ribs were also fractured apart from his sternum. Contusions detected on the soles of his feet indicate that Rajkumar was subjected to the infamous Falanga torture which involves continuously beating the soles of the victimâ€™s feet.
Rajkumarâ€™s death had put the Kerala police and the ruling Left Democratic Front government in the line of fire, with the Opposition raising the issue of the number of custodial deaths that have taken place during three years of Pinarayi Vijayanâ€™s reign.
With IANS inputs