Kerala government on June 1, Tuesday, informed the Legislative Assembly that five policemen and a home guard, who were involved in the Nedumankandam custodial death, will be prosecuted and have directed the State Police Chief to dismiss them from service. The action is based on the inquiry report of Justice Narayana Kurup Commission.
Those who will be dismissed are Sub-Inspector KA Sabu, Assistant Sub-Inspector Roy P Varghese, driver Niyaz, Civil Police Officers Jithin K George and Rejimon, and Home Guard James KM. The custodial death happened in Nedumkandam in Idukki in 2019. The action taken report was placed in the Assembly on June 1. The Commission report also recommended punishment of three medical professionals. who were also found guilty in connection with the case. It has also been decided to give a compensation of Rs 45 lakh to the family of the deceased.
Rajkumar, 49, a small-time financial agent, died in custody on June 21, 2019 after allegedly being subjected to brutal third-degree torture at the Nedumkandam police station in Idukki. According to reports, Rajkumar was rounded up on June 12 by a group of people who he owed money to. They handed him over to the Nedumkandam police. Police, however, recorded his arrest only four days later on June 16 and later shifted him to the state-run Peerumedu Taluk Hospital, where he died on June 21.
Though the post-mortem mentioned pneumonia as the cause of death, the autopsy report revealed 22 injury marks on Rajkumar's body, most below the thighs, indicating that he was subjected to brutal torture in custody. The previous Pinarayi Vijayan government gave the nod for the judicial probe following a huge protest by the opposition both inside and outside the Assembly. The Commission exhumed the body to ascertain the actual cause of death and took statements from numerous people before he submitted his final report.
A special cabinet meeting in February 2021 had decided to dismiss the police officials who were responsible for the death. Though the Home Department had issued an order to initiate the dismissal procedure, police officials had approached the police tribunal against this. The Commission had submitted a 150-page report to the government in January this year.
(With IANS inputs)