The suspended SI, along with six others, is accused of torturing Rajkumar, a small time financier from Idukki district.

news Law Monday, February 17, 2020 - 22:15

The prime accused in the custodial torture and death of Rajkumar, a 49-year-old Kerala financier, was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Sunday. KA Sabu, the suspended sub-inspector (SI) from the Nedumkandam police station in Idukki district, was arrested by the CBI after the Supreme Court cancelled the bail granted to him by the Kerala High Court.

In July 2019, the special team of the Crime Branch probing the case had arrested seven police officials, including Sabu. However, he was granted bail in August.

Rajkumar, a resident of Kolahalamedu near Vagamon, was arrested by the Nedumkandam police on June 12, 2019 in connection with a financial fraud case. Though the police claimed that Rajkumar was taken into custody on June 15 when his arrest was recorded then, CCTV visuals later proved that he was held two days earlier. He was arrested after people protested against him, alleging that he had collected money from them, promising to provide good interest rates. Rajkumar owned a small financial enterprise named Haritha Financiers in Nedumkandam.

On June 17, Rajkumar was brought to the Peermade sub-jail after being produced before the magistrate. However, Rajkumar was physically weak and had breathing trouble; he was subsequently admitted to hospital and died on June 21. The autopsy report had revealed that Rajkumar had over 20 wounds on his body, including severe fractures. Following the shocking revelation indicating custodial torture, the case was transferred to a special team of the Crime Branch. The probe team questioned over 350 witnesses in the case. Four police officers were suspended and five were transferred.

In January 2020, the Kerala High Court ordered the CBI to take over the case.

Shalini, a business associate of Rajkumar, had earlier told the media that she had seen the police brutally torturing him. Shalini was also an accused in the financial fraud case. She had said that the police had begun hitting Rajkumar in the police vehicle, soon after they were taken into custody.

“He was asked to kneel soon after we reached the police station. Then, they started beating him using canes. With folded hands, he pleaded with the sub-inspector; he said that he would return the money he had taken from people within 24 hours. He also told us that he can return the money,” she said. She also alleged that he was brutally tortured by applying chillies on his wounds, genitals and that the police had used other methods of physical torture. She said that she too had been physically tortured by police officers.

The Kerala High Court had granted bail to all the seven accused in the case. Later, the state approached the Supreme Court and the apex court quashed the bail of the prime accused.