A judicial commission investigating the alleged custodial torture and death of a prisoner in Kerala last month ordered a new autopsy on Saturday after discovering several lapses in the first post-mortem report, PTI reported.
Personnel in Idukki district’s Nedumkandam police station allegedly tortured 49-year-old Rajkumar, who was taken into custody in connection with a financial fraud case on June 12, for four days. The police however, recorded his arrest on June 16 and later shifted him to the state-run Peerumedu Taluk Hospital. Rajkumar’s body had 22 injuries, and he died of an infection caused by severe physical trauma.
The commission’s head, Justice K Narayana Kurup, visited the police station and the taluk hospital. He said the first autopsy report cannot be taken into consideration, according to the news agency. Rajkumar’s internal organs were not sent for expert examination and there was a delay in recording his arrest, he added. “What happened during those days... all circumstances will be examined,” Kurup said.
Rajkumar’s mother Kasthuri welcomed the panel’s decision and said the accused in the case should be identified. Four police personnel have been arrested so far.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has said the government will not protect the policemen involved in the incident. “No one has the right to keep any person in custody illegally or beat them to death,” Vijayan had told the state Assembly last month. “Such people will no longer be there in the state police service.”
According to reports, it is the fifth allegation of custodial death against the state police since 2016, when the Left Democratic Front government came to power. The matter was also raised in the Rajya Sabha by former Union minister Alphons Kannamthanam.