On Wednesday, ten police officers who had been suspended for their alleged involvement in the custodial death of 26-year-old SR Sreejith were reinstated to the police force by order of Inspector General of Police, Kochi range, Vijay Sakhare. The newly reinstated officers are Inspector Chrispin Sam, SI Deepak, Additional SI Jayanandan, Grade ASI Sudheer, senior CPO Santosh Baby, CPO Sreeraj, CPO Sunil Kumar and additional CPOs Santhosh Kumar, Jithin and Sumesh.
On April 7, 26-year-old SR Sreejith was arrested by Varapuzha police for his suspected involvement in a case of abetting suicide of 54-year-old Devaswompadam native KM Vasudevan, who hanged himself after a gang broke into his house and assaulted him. Shortly after Sreejithâ€™s arrest, he was taken to a private hospital, where he passed away from abdominal injuries on April 9.
The State Human Rights Commission had expressed a strong suspicion that Sreejith had died following custodial torture, and its Chairperson P Mohan Das had said that murder charges should be pressed against the police personnel involved.
The son of the deceased KM Vasudevan, Vinish, also later told the media that the police had arrested the wrong Sreejith in connection with this case. SR Sreejith had been mistaken for another member of the 14-person gang who was involved in abetting the suicide, who went by the same name and lived near Vasudevanâ€™s house.
Speaking about the decision to reinstate the officers on Wednesday, IG Vijay Sakhare told TNM, â€śEveryone is innocent until proven guilty. The Crime Branch, which was investigating this case, said that the investigation has been completed, and that the concerned officers can be reinstated as there is no longer a chance of them influencing the investigation or tampering with the evidence. The case against them will continue in the court of law.â€ť