PUCL Bulletin, August 2001

Death in police custody at Kota, Udupi

PUCL constituted an Investigation Team to probe into the custodial death of Narayana K.V which took place at Kota on 20th May 2001 around 2:30 pm. The team consisted of Mr. P. B. D' Sa Nagesh H, Shanker, Albet J. Rego, Benito H, Balakrishna Rao. The team conducted extensive investigations in Udupi, Manipal, Kota, Brahmavar, and other places and have come to the conclusion, that this is a custodial death committed by Circle Inspector Vishwanath Pandit, of Brahmavar Circle under which Kota Station and the residence of Narayan K.V comes, Jagdeesh C.I of Udupi; Thimmaiha, S.I of Udupi; AV Laxminarayan, S.I of Brahmavar and their men.

Narayana K.V, who was a furniture and Solar Heater manufacturer at Udupi was picked up by Vishwanath Pandit and others at about 7:30 pm on 18th May 2000 in the presence of Kamlamma, 75 year old mother of Narayan (his father is no more), his elder brothers Ramachandra, 51 year old married and staying at Mudarangady, Krishnaiaha K.V 48 year married and living at Manipal, Lecturer at ITI Perdur, Sister Sanjeevi aged about 40 married and staying at Manipal and youngest sister Shaila, 26 years old who is a lawyer (Their second brother Umesh studied upto M.A was working in External Affairs Ministry Govt. of India - now expired) and 7 year old daughter of Sanjeevi. Narayana, the victim had studied upto SSLC and was driving his own car at Virajpet before starting the present business.

This family living in Virajpet had shifted to Kota about 7 years back and not known much in the locality, as they appear to be quiet and decent law abiding family.

Friday 18th was naming ceremony for Shaila's first child and therefore all the brothers and sisters were at home. Function was just over around 7:30 / 8:00 pm, Police barged in and took away Narayan in the presence of the entire family. He was taken away to Kota Police Station by Pandit and assaulted with the belt in the presence of his brothers then taken to Brahmavar Station. The brothers followed the Police to Brahmavar and pleaded that their brother is an innocent person and they should not assault him. Narayan was hale and hearty while he was taken. He had no ailments and was healthy.
They desperately sought the assistance of an advocate who discouraged them from going to the station and told them that he would get him a bail on Monday morning. Therefore they came home and were hoping that their brother would come home. Whole Saturday they went from station to station and learnt that he was in Udupi station. However they were not allowed to see him.
Saturday 19th Valentine, S.I of Kota came home with some constables and searched the entire house and found nothing incriminating hence went away taking a dairy belonging to the house. It was about 7:30 / 8:00 pm.
Sunday 20th noon at about 1:30 pm about 25 Policemen in Mufthi and only two in uniform came rushing into the house. Two constables dragging Narayana on their shoulders as he was unable to walk, his neck and back bone had twisted, his legs and feet were twisted, his face was swollen. They brought him, started assaulting him with hands and boots, and constantly banged his head to the wall. After this attack, which continued for about an hour, Narayan collapsed and died, but Police continued to kick him and finally pretended to offer some First Aid such as little water, some glucose and onion to smell.
During this one hour, the Police staged a sort of a drama.

Mother was abused, assaulted and injured on the face; sisters were abused and assaulted. Vishwanath Pandit made attempts to rape Sanjeevi. Both mother and Sanjeevi were injured and treated as in patients.
In the process, Police suddenly produced a bag, kept on the table, took out some tools like pistols etc, and forced Narayan to agree that he kept it. Police went out, brought some packet, and said it was some drug kept by Narayana and forced him to agree. However Narayana was unable to utter a single word. He was completely blank.

Police then ran away with the body after a Doctor was called who pronounced that Narayan was dead.

Brothers could not find where his body was taken in spite of a search. Finally brothers were called to identify the body at KMC Hospital and were threatened that they will face the same fate as of Narayana if they bury the body and that they should cremate it. Therefore the body was cremated.

Brothers and Brother-in-law were called to the station again on Monday and threatened stating that they should not tell anyone that they killed him and that they should tell all that he ate Potassium Cyanide, which was on the table, and he died.

The investigation team visited Udupi, Manipal and met Krishnaiaha and Sanjeevi. On 7th June around 2:00 pm we visited Kota Police Station, Brahmavar Police Station and C.I 's Office. C.I Vishwanath Pandit was absconding, no S. I' s were found in Kota or Brahmavar stations. Though we waited for C.I till 5:00 pm, he did not turn up. Once Police said he had gone for food, later they changed their version "gone for investigation".

There are about 9 eye witnesses who saw the drama on Friday & Sunday. Evidence of eyewitnesses corroborates, therefore we have no hesitation in concluding that this is a day light, cold blooded murder by the Police in the presence of the family members, in their own home.

There is no chance of Narayana consuming cyanide under the circumstances described above. Only possibility is that Police might have forced cyanide in his mouth or cyanide was introduced at the stage of post-mortem.
Different Police men have come constantly to their house from Monday and forced them to say that he had consumed cyanide and threatened them of dire consequences.

We demand immediate arrest of Vishwanath Pandit (C.I), Jagdeesh, C.I of Udupi, Thimmaiha, S.I of Udupi, AV Laxminarayan S.I of Brahmavar and all others involved in the murder under Section 302. Proper charges should be framed for trespass wrongful confinement, kidnap, custodial violence, theft (Rs. 5000/- has been robbed from their house), rioting, and conspiracy.

If the arrest does not take place within 7 days further action will be planned by PUCL in collaboration with all other like-minded organisations.

-- P.B. D 'Sa, June 9, 2001

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