TNM spoke to one of the policemen accused of torturing and killing Sreejeev, Sreejith's brother.

We also want CBI probe Cop accused of torturing Sreejiths brother tells TNM
news #JusticeForSreejith Tuesday, January 16, 2018 - 19:04

The protest by 31-year-old Sreejith demanding CBI probe into the death of his younger brother in police custody has gained much support from people across Kerala.

While there is still no clarity on whether the CBI will take up the case of Sreejeev’s death in May 2014, Sreejith and his mother have questioned why the government has not even suspended the two policemen and two civil officers named guilty in a report by the State Police Complaint Authority.

TNM tried to trace the four officers who were involved in the arrest of Sreejeev in 2014. The State Police Complaint Authority in May 2016 had said that Circle Inspector Gopakumar, and ASI Philipose, had beaten up Sreejeev with the intention to kill him, and made him consume poison. The report also said that two civil officers, Prathapachandran and Vijayadas N aided them in the crime.

Vijayadas is now Assistant Sub Inspector at the Balaramapuram station in Thiruvananthapuram city.

‘We haven’t done anything wrong’

Speaking to TNM, Vijayadas says, “I also want a probe by the CBI. Let the truth come out, we are also eager for it. We also have to prove that we haven’t done anything wrong. We are ready to give Rs 50 lakh each to Sreejith’s family if it’s proven that we have done it.”

He goes on to say that with media covering Sreejith’s struggle and asking for action against the police officers, their families, too, were under stress.

Vijayadas claims that if there was an iota of truth in the Police Complaint Authority’s findings, the police department would have suspended all four of them from service. “We were not suspended even for a day. The department knows the truth. We are not brutal people, but we are always projected so and hated by the public,” he says.

He alleges that the report by Justice Narayana Kurup, who headed the Police Complaint Authority, had messed up the case. “The Authority had done the investigation in the case using a private agency from outside the state. How was that fair? Our statements were not even taken by the Authority at first, it was taken much later,” he claims.

A conspiracy? 

Vijayadas alleges that Sreejeev had stolen 13 mobiles from a shop called Star Mobile at Parassala two years before he was arrested and had been absconding since then.

“He sold the mobile phones using Sreejith’s identity card at various shops in Kollam and Thiruvananthapuram,” Vijayadas says.

The theft had happened in 2012, so why was Sreejeev arrested on May 19, 2014 a day before the wedding of a young woman he had been in a relationship with? Sreejith had told TNM that he believed his brother was arrested simply because he was an obstacle to the wedding and the girl was related to Philipose, one of the accused police officers.

Vijayadas however denies that the girl was related to Philipose.

“All of them lived in the same area, but the girl Sreejeev was having an affair with was not related to Philipose. Sreejeev, Philipose and the woman were living in Kulathoor in the same neighbourhood. After absconding for two years, Sreejeev returned to Kulathoor when the woman’s wedding was about to happen with some other person,” he says.

Sreejith’s mother Remani had also alleged that Philipose is close to the CPI (M); Vijayadas denies this too.

“The politics of the police personnel would change as the government in power changes. When the Congress rules we are all ‘with’ the Congress, when the CPI (M) is in power we are all for CPI (M),” he says.

‘We were directed to arrest him’

Vijayadas said that Circle Inspector Gopakumar who is currently working in Kollam was directed by other senior officers to arrest Sreejeev in the pending theft case. “Even his mother knew what Sreejeev was doing and that he was absconding. He may have turned up there because of the girl’s wedding,” the policeman says.

Sreejeev died of consuming poison. Vijayadas squarely denies that they had fed poison to the young man and instead claims that Sreejeev had carried the poison with him.

“We didn’t know that he had poison with him, we don’t know why he carried the poison. The poison was in his underwear. Do you think we police personnel carry poison with us to forcibly give to someone?” he asks.

A Facebook post by Mohan, a retired Sub Inspector who had probed the custodial death allegation, claimed that the policemen had not found the bottle of poison though they had body searched Sreejeev.

Later, Sreejeev told the policemen that he had consumed poison, and they rushed him to the hospital.

‘It was suicide’

Sreejeev used to live in a lodge room in Attingal. “There was a suicide note found from the room in which it was written that “I am bidding adieu”. The note was not found by us, but by those assigned to carry out searches in the room, after he committed suicide. That search operation was monitored by the police. There are video recordings of the inquest, post-mortem etc, and everything was supervised by an IAS officer. The IAS officer found no evidence of any injury on his body. He had undergone treatment for two days at government medical college and the doctors there did not find any injury marks. It’s better for us that the truth comes out,” Vijayadas says.

The report that Vijayadas was referring to, was the inquest report prepared by sub collector Karthikeyan IAS which said that no injuries were found on Sreejeev’s body.

Sreejeev’s mother Remani has rejected all these police versions. “We had filed complaints in different stations. When we went to follow up, the police asked us to produce many documents. They kept changing their version. We had requested the police to suspend those involved in the crime before investigation began. But the men were not suspended. The police maintained no consistency when carrying out the procedures. They even asked us if we are doing this to get the money we are entitled to. If we were doing this for the money, my son wouldn’t be fasting for 767 days. Our son’s life is more important to us,” she says.