CBI to probe into Kerala custodial death case

Thiruvananthapuram, Aug 14 (IANS) Even as a judicial probe is currently underway in the alleged custodial death of a financial agent in Kerala's Idukki district last month, the Kerala government on Wednesday decided to hand over the case to the CBI.

Rajkumar, 49, a small-time financial agent, allegedly died in custody on June 21 after being subjected to brutal third-degree torture at the Nedumkandam police station.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, at a weekly cabinet meeting, announced the decision to hand over the case to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) after demands from the victim's family and the Congress-led opposition.

Rajkumar's body was on July 29 exhumed to ascertain the actual cause of death, under orders of the judicial commission of Justice K. Narayana Kurup.

According to reports, Rajkumar was rounded up on June 12 by a group of people who he owed money to, and handed over to the Nedumkandam police. The police, however, recorded his arrest on June 16 and later shifted him to the state-run Peerumedu Taluk Hospital, where he died on June 21.

Though the post-mortem mentions pneumonia as the cause of death, the autopsy report revealed 22 injury marks on Rajkumar's body, mostly below the thighs, indicating that he was subjected to third-degree torture while in custody.

By now, seven police officials attached to the police station where the alleged torture took place, have been arrested. Several other police officials are under the scanner.

--IANS

sg/mag/bc

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