Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan rejects CBI probe into custodial death of 26-year-old youth in Kerala's Kochi

Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Tuesday slammed the Kerala State Human Rights Commission (KSHRC) acting chairperson P Mohana Das for seeking a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the alleged custodial death of a 26-year-old youth in Kochi.

 Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan rejects CBI probe into custodial death of 26-year-old youth in Keralas Kochi

File image of Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan. PTI

Rejecting the demand for a CBI probe, Vijayan said let the Human Rights Commission chairman do his duty only. The Chief Minister was responding to questions on the CBI probe into the alleged custodial death of S R Sreejith at a press meet in Thiruvananthapuram.

Many of Das' statements were unbecoming of the position he holds, Vijayan said, adding it seems the statements were part of his political stand. He was appointed as acting chairperson of KSHRC by the previous Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) rule.

Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala had on Monday observed a 24-hour hunger strike seeking a CBI inquiry into the death of S R Sreejith, who had died of alleged torture in police custody on 9 April.

Sreejith, who was taken into custody in connection with the death of a person early this month, had died in a private hospital. His relatives alleged that he died due to torture, but the police have rejected the allegation saying Sreejith was suspected to have suffered injuries during a clash before he was taken into custody.

Stating that the state government took stern action against the police personnel involved in the incident, Vijayan said the instances of allegations of third-degree torture by police in Kerala was not new. But in this case, the government took immediate action against the persons responsible for it. Vijayan also said four police personnel including an inspector has been arrested and a murder case registered against them. Terming Sreejith's death as "unfortunate," Vijayan said it should not have happened in Kerala.

A Special Investigation Team was probing the incident and action would be taken if any more people were found guilty, he noted. The chief minister also rejected the charges that he had refused to meet the family members of Lithuanian tourist Liga Skromene, whose decomposed body was recovered from near Kovalam. "They (family members) have not contacted the CM's office and sought an appointment. I would have readily met them. What is preventing me from meeting them?" Vijayan said referring to reports in social media that he refused to meet Liga's relatives.

The CPM leader also pointed out that the police also took necessary steps to trace the missing women by setting up a special investigation team. Liga's sister Ilze and her husband Andrews had yesterday demanded a high-level probe into the circumstances leading to her death.

The body of Liga was found near Kovalam in Thiruvallam on 21 April from a bushy desolate area near a mangrove forest on the banks of Karmana river near in Thiruvananthapuram.

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Updated Date: Apr 24, 2018 19:32:29 IST