A Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Special Court in Kerala on Monday has found five policemen guilty in connection with the custodial murder of Udayakumar in 2005. Udayakumar, then 26 years old, had died after he was tortured in custody in a police station in Thiruvananthapuram. Police constables K Jithukumar and SV Sreekumar who had apprehended Udayakumar have been found guilty of murder. KV Soman, their colleague who was accused of murder had died during the course of the trial.
The court has also held that sub-inspector Ajith Kumar, circle inspector EK Sabu and the then Assistant Commissioner of Fort K Haridas have been found guilty of conspiracy, destroying evidence and foisting false case on Udayakumar.
Udayakumar’s case had shocked Kerala in 2005. The young man was spread-eagled on a bench and crushed with an iron pipe. In 2005, the Crime Branch arrested three police constables, but witnesses in the case later turned hostile, and the accused policemen were granted bail.
In 2007, the Central Bureau of Investigation took over the investigation after a High Court directive, which came in response to a petition filed by Udayakumar’s mother Prabhavathi Amma.
Udayakumar and his friend Suresh Kumar were picked up by the Fort Police in Thiruvananthapuram on September 27, 2005 when they were sitting at the Sreekanteswaram Park in the city. Suresh was involved in a case of theft and since some money was also found on Udayakumar, both of them were apprehended.
They were subjected to brutal torture at the police station, and the injuries Udayakumar sustained is what led to his death.
The CBI that probed the case had said that Udayakumar’s death was a case of ‘urutti kola’, a practice of ‘rolling’ a heavy wooden log over the body of an accused. The Kerala police have been in trouble before too for using this method of torture.
The CBI had produced an iron pipe as the main weapon and told the court that the weapon was used to hit Udayakumar, especially on his thighs. K Sreekumari, professor, forensic medicine, Government Medical College Hospital, Thiruvananthapuram, had told CBI Judge J Nazar that the wounds on the thighs matched with injuries that could have been caused with the iron pipe. The statement of the professor who had done the post-mortem of Udayakumar’s body, turned out to be crucial in the case.
Forensic expert Thomas Alex had told the court that he had found blood stains on the bench on which Udayakumar had been tortured. Other police personnel in the station had told the court that they had seen the three accused take out Udayakumar, who looked weak.
For Udayakumar’s mother Prabhavati, the judgment after 13 long years, comes as a huge relief.