HC grants bail to SI suspended over Kumar's custodial death

Peermade custodial death: Reports of brutal assault on victim emerge
Kumar (left) was picked up on June 12 in connection with a financial fraud case.

Kochi: The Kerala High Court has granted bail to K A Sabu, the suspended Sub-Inspector (SI) of the Nedumkandam police station in Kerala's Idukki district, over the custodial death of remand prisoner Raj Kumar in June.

The court observed that there was no need for the accused to continue in jail as most of the probe has been completed and the statements of the main witnesses have been taken.

Sabu, who is the first accused in the case, had been in custody since July 3. Though he received the bail on Tuesday, Sabu was released from jail only on Wednesday morning due to the delay in getting the order. He had to give a personal bail bond of Rs 40,000 and two sureties of a similar amount.

Sabu had contended that Kumar had not suffered custody torture at his hands. His counsel also argued that the medical documents and other circumstances do not support the prosecution case of custody torture. However, additional prosecutions director general (ADGP) said that there were several evidence, including the findings in the second autopsy report, that prove custody torture.

While considering the Sabu's bail plea, the High Court also checked the magistrate's report that said Kumar had not alleged that he was subjected to custodial torture when he was presented before him.

Kumar also told the magistrate that he had suffered injuries to his left leg as he fell down while trying to flee the police.

Kumar was brought to the sub-jail on June 16. Only when he was taken to the hospital on June 18, Kumar had first complained of police torture. The defendant also said that till June 18, Kumar did not even tell the co-prisoners about the torture.

The court also noted that the accused did not have a criminal background. However, the ADGP said that the statements of the witnesses and the cops on duty were taken and these prove the allegation of police torture.

The court said that it would not remark on the case now as the investigation is yet to be completed. When asked about the CCTV images of the police station and jail, the ADGP replied that these were yet to be checked and the entire system has been sent for lab examination.

The court, however, said that before sending them for examination, the images could have been checked.

The special team of the Crime Branch had arrested seven, including Sabu, over Kumar's death. They have been lodged at the Devikulam sub-jail.

Four police officers, including Sabu, were suspended and five others transferred over Kumar's death in the Peerumade sub-jail on June 21.

Kumar, the owner of Haritha Finance at Thookupalam, was arrested for financial fraud on June 12. He died while he was on remand.

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