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Kerala government opposes in High Court plea for CBI probe into ‘custodial’ death

Kerala

Kochi: The Kerala government today opposed in the state high court a plea for a CBI probe into the recent alleged custodial death of a 26-year-old-man, saying its police was capable of investigating the matter.

The government told the Kerala High Court the crime branch police, probing the death, was a specialised agency to investigate into offences like homicide.

The petition seeking CBI probe was filed by the wife of SR Sreejith who died of alleged torture in police custody in nearby Varappuzha on April 9.

“Many sensational cases wherein police officers were the accused were effectively handled by the crime branch and successfully prosecuted. The accused in those cases were convicted by the trial court,” the government said.

The investigation of the special investigation team headed by crime branch IG S Sreejith was proceeding, steadily and honestly, it said, adding there was no reason or scope for a CBI probe.

The government said altogether 11 officers, including a district police chief, have been suspended and departmental action against them was underway.

Nine police officers have been arraigned as accused and three were still in judicial custody.

Petitioner Akhila has also sought Rs 1 crore as compensation for the death of her husband.

She has raised apprehension that the inquiry by the police against the personnel of their own department would not yield expected results.

“It is fair and proper to hand over the investigation to the CBI,” she said in the petition.

Sreejith, taken into custody by police at Varappuzha in connection with the death of a person, had died in a private hospital. His relatives alleged he died of custodial torture.

Police have rejected the allegation, saying Sreejith was suspected to have suffered injuries during a clash before he was taken into custody.

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