A year after the custodial death of 26-year-old Varapuzha native Sreejith, his family is still waiting for justice. Sreejith lost his life while in police custody. But even after a year, the police have not yet filed a chargesheet in the case.
Sreejith was arrested by the Varapuzha police on April 7, 2018, over suspected involvement in a case of abetting the suicide of 54-year-old Devaswompadam native KM Vasudevan. Vasudevan had hanged himself after a gang broke into his house and assaulted him.
Sreejith was apparently mistaken for another person who was involved in assaulting Vasudevan. Following his arrest on April 7, Sreejith was taken to a private hospital and on April 9 he passed away from abdominal injuries. His family as well as the State Human Rights Commission have raised suspicions that Sreejith was allegedly killed because of custodial torture.
Even though the investigation has been completed, police have not yet filed a chargesheet in the case.
Sreejithâ€™s brother Renjith told TNM that though it has been a year since his death, the family is still waiting to see justice for Sreejith. â€śThe investigating officers have told us that there will be a delay in filing chargesheet as they have to complete some more special procedures since the accused are police officers,â€ť said Renjith.
Investigating officers told TNM that the chargesheet had not been filed yet as they were waiting to complete the necessary paperwork. â€śSince this is a case involving government officers as accused, we need the sanction of the state government to file the chargesheet,â€ť Crime Branch IG S Sreejith, who headed the investigation, told TNM.
Ten police officers, who had been accused in the custodial death of Sreejith, were reinstated back to service in last December. They were suspended while the investigation was ongoing.
â€śWe had talked about this to the investigating officers. According to them, there was provision for the accused police officer to get back into service once the investigation was over, so we did not go behind that,â€ť Renjith added.
Sreejith was the father of a two-year-old child when he was arrested by the police. Last May, the government gave his wife Akhila a job in the North Paravur taluk office and has also handed over a compensation of Rs 10 lakh.
Sreejithâ€™s innocence in the case was even asserted by Vasudevanâ€™s son. The son had later revealed that Sreejith had been mistaken for somebody else and had not threatened his father.