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UDF raises custodial death in Ker assembly, stages walk out


Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan Wednesday told the Kerala Assembly that strict action would be taken against police personnel if there were any lapses in the case relating to the custodial death of a remand prisoner.

Dissatisfied with Vijayan's reply, Opposition Congress-led UDF, which raised the issue of the prisoner, staged a walkout.

Rajkumar, (49), who was taken into custody on June 12 in connection with a financial fraud case, had died on June 21 in Peermedu sub jail allegedly due to custodial torture.

Vijayan, who was replying to an adjournment motion moved by UDF MLA P T Thomas, said a crime branch team was probing the matter and there was something suspicious behind the incident.

"There is something suspicious behind the incident. There is no need for the government to justify any mistake," Vijayan said, adding the government has suspended four police officials in this regard.

The chief minister, who also holds the Home Ministry portfolio, said strict action would be taken in case any lapses were found on part of the officials.

"Its unfortunate that I have to respond on custodial torture on a day we are observing the 44th anniversary of the Emergency," Vijayan said.

Thomas, an MLA representing Thrikkakkara constituency, said Rajkumar was already injured when he was produced before the court.

"The government has sidelined the good and reputed officials and tainted officers are in the key positions.

We all hoped that the custodial death of Sreejith in Varapuzha would have been the last. But the government gave 'good service' entry to the accused officials," Thomas alleged.

Rajkumar was produced before the court after 105 hours and thirty minutes.

According to law, a person who has been taken into custody by the police, should be produced before a court or magistrate within 24 hours, he said.

Leader of Opposition, Ramesh Chennithala claimed that the government does not take the custodial deaths seriously.

"The maximum number of custodial deaths happened during the period of Pinarayi Vijayan government. This government does not take the custodial deaths seriously.

That is the reason behind the increase in deaths in prisons," Chennithala said.

The Opposition parties staged the walkout after the Speaker rejected the notice for an adjournment motion over the issue.

Four police personnel-- including a Sub Inspector, Assistant Sub Inspector and two drivers of Nedumkandam police station have been suspended and eight others transferred in connection with Rajkumar's death.

As per the initial postmortem report, he had suffered serious injuries and had at least 32 wounds on both legs below the knee.

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