INDIA: Home Minister’s relative torture a student in custody


Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-141-2010
ISSUES: Arbitrary arrest & detention, Corruption, Torture,

Dear friends, 

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information that the local police in Thrissur district, Kerala state has illegally detained and tortured a student, for refusing to admit a charge of theft alleged against him. It is reported that the police officers detained the student in custody for more than 44 hours and threatened him not to inform the magistrate or the doctor who examined him that the police tortured him in custody. The magistrate has issued bail to the victim, but his life is under threat since the officers do not want the victim to pursue the case against the police officers. 


The victim in the case has narrated to the AHRC about the incident as follows: My name is Binu. I am 18-years-old and a first year student at the Industrial Training Centre at the Victory Institute in Ollukkara, Thrissur district. 

On 14 June 2010, I left home at about 7pm to go to my mother’s house in Chelakkara. I borrowed the motorcycle bearing number KL-8-A-2831, of my friend Ramesh to travel. When I was retuning, an umbrella that I had kept tied to the motorcycle fell off on the road, though I did not notice it. When I was near a place called Uravampadam, it started raining. I stopped the bike to get the umbrella only to realise that it had fallen off from the bike without my knowledge. I waited till the rain subsided. 

Then I went back looking for the umbrella on the road. When I found the umbrella, I walked back to the motorcycle. It was about 8pm then. When I was about to reach the motorcycle, a person approached me on his motorcycle and inquired why I was there. I informed him that I was returning from my mother’s house and that I had to stop since it rained and had to look for the umbrella that had dropped off from my motorcycle. To this, the person replied that he suspects that I am a thief and that I was responsible for the theft of a gold chain from a nearby house that happened in March. I refused and further felt insulted of being accused of theft by a stranger in an unfamiliar place. So I argued with him how dare he accuses someone of theft. Without any provocation, this person left his bike and held me by my shirt collar and slapped me on my face. 

I was confused, angry and sad at the same time, being assaulted by a stranger. I did not know what to do at the time. Within minutes few more persons gathered at the place and asked why I was being assaulted, for which the stranger who assaulted me informed that I am a thief and that he has apprehended me and asked the people who gathered to also hit me. I was scared. So I ran away from the people. At this, they started chasing me yelling at me to stop and at the same time shouting out that a thief is on the run. 

Within minutes, they stopped me. Then they surrounded me and started interrogating me as if I am a real thief apprehended while committing theft. I cried and shouted at the same time yelling at them that I am not a thief and that I was returning home. Soon I realised that they will further harm me and fearing for my life, I pleaded them to call for the police, expecting that the police would help me to prove my innocence. 

Someone telephoned the police and three police officers from Peechi Police Station soon arrived at the scene. The police officers took me to Peechi Police Station. Once inside the police vehicle, I informed the police officers what had happened. They refused to listen and informed me that they can do nothing until the Sub Inspector of Police arrives the next day. I was detained inside the police station lockup for the night. I had no way to communicate with my family. 

At about 10am on the next day the Sub Inspector of Police arrived. He summoned me to his room. When I entered his room, the officer shouted at me to admit that I had stolen the chain and slapped me continuously for about six times on both sides of my face. Then he punched me on my nose. I started bleeding from my nose and was terrified with fear. The officer then forced my head down and elbowed me on my spine about four to five times. Then he pushed me to the wall and kicked me on my chest. Then he shouted once again to admit the crime. I refused. 

Within half an hour I was thrown back into the police lockup. I remained there for the whole day. The officers refused to contact my parents despite my repeated requests. They failed to feed me or allow me to step outside the cell. I was severely injured and my entire body was wrenching with pain. I started feeling very cold and then I might have passed out since I only remember waking up the next day by about early in the morning. 

At about 10.30am the Sub Inspector came to the police station and soon summoned me into his room. I limped into his room and there the police officer threatened that if I refuse to admit the theft charge, he would create police records that would show that I was apprehended in possession of instruments that he claimed are commonly found in possession of thieves like screwdrivers, iron rods, knife and so on. I refused to admit the crime even then. 

The officer then approached me and started slapping me again on my face. I cried out loud. Then the officer once again forced my head down and elbowed me. It started paining as if wasps were stinging me. I cried out loud and informed him that about eight months before a friend of mine, Mr. Francis, had asked me to sell a gold chain in a jewellery named Karakkal Jewellery in a place called Pattikad. I also informed the officer that I had done so as instructed by Francis and that I had handed over the money to Francis since the money and the chain belonged to him. I also informed him that there is a witness to the sale and the handing over of the money and that it is my friend Mr. Manu. 

The officer gathered their address from me. Then he summoned Francis and Manu to the police station. They came to the station and confirmed what I said. The officer let them leave, only after extracting bribes from them. I was informed later that Manu paid Rs. 10,000.00 and Francis paid Rs. 15,000.00 to the officer. I asked them why they paid, for which they informed me that the officer had threatened that if they refused to pay, he would implicate them too as accomplices in the theft case he was planning to charge against me. 

On the same day at about 5.30pm, the police produced me at Thottapadi Government Hospital for a medical check up. Before letting me into the hospital, one police constable threatened me that if I informed the doctor that I was tortured inside the police station, they would take me back to the station and torture me further after the medical examination and charge me with other crimes. So I kept quite when I sat in front of the doctor. In fact the doctor did not even touch me or examine my body. Had he done so, he would have found the injuries. Without doing anything, the doctor issued something in writing to the police officers. The officers then took me to the residence of a magistrate at a place called Ayyanthole. Though I explained to the magistrate everything what had happened to me, he remanded me to judicial custody for 10 days. 

Manu and Francis in the meanwhile informed my parents what had happened to them and me. My parents arranged for my bail and I was released on bail by the court. 

With their help, I filed a complaint to the District Superintendent of police about the incident. I am informed that based on my complaint, there was an internal inquiry and that the inquiry report is against the Sub Inspector of Police who tortured me. I am however, not given a copy of the inquiry report and neither have the police recorded my statement. Now, the Sub Inspector has started contacting me, threatening me that if I pursue the complaint against him, I will be further charged with other cases and that I will be arrested again and taken into police custody. 

I am afraid now and find it difficult to go to school. The name of the Sub Inspector who tortured me is Mr. Gopinathan Menon. I am informed that he is closely related to the Home Minister of the state and that the Minister’s son had married the officer’s daughter. I suspect that this is the reason why no departmental action is initiated against the police officer despite my complaint and the inquiry. 


The AHRC has been reporting similar cases of torture from India since the past several years. In most cases, though upon receipt of complaint through the AHRC, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) or the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) would register a case. The investigation of the case is then handed over to the state police by the NHRC or the SHRC. 

The investigations often are limited to a report filed by the state police to the Commission, where naturally the allegation of torture would be denied. Often the NHRC and the SHRC decide cases entirely based on these reports, rendering the entire exercise a futile effort. In most cases, the victims being poor, they cannot afford to appoint a lawyer on their behalf. Neither does the Commissions resort to providing free legal aid to the victims. 

An additional pattern the AHRC has noted in cases of torture is that often the medical officers who get the first opportunity to examine the victim fail to thoroughly examine the victim and often prepares a medical report listening to the police officers accompanying the victim. The victims are usually threatened by the police officers not to mention anything to the doctor. Since the victims at that stage are completely dependent upon the police, they comply the threats by the police officers thereby remaining silent during the medical examination. 

Similar is the situation when the victim is produced before the magistrate. Often the victims are produced before magistrates at their residences after regular court hours. Even though it is mandated in the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 that the magistrate must record the statement of the accused regarding the treatment of the accused by the police while in custody, the magistrates often neglect this duty and fabricate records by mentioning that the accused had no complaints about the police. In some instances, as it has occurred in this case, the magistrates or the doctors refuse to record what the victims have to say at the time of production before the officers. 

These dilution in proceedings by the medical officers and the magistrates leads to instances where the victims of police violence loose their first two opportunities to lodge a complaint against the police officers who have tortured them in custody. In the absence of any witness protection mechanism and an independent agency to investigate violence committed by the police, in particular torture, police officers engaged in torturing persons in their custody escape punishment. 

Please write letters to the authorities to take stern action against the police officer involved in the case. The conduct of the magistrate who refused to record the statement of the victim at the time of production of the victim before the officer must be investigated. The inquiry report of the police based on the complaint filed by the victim must be made available to the victim or to his lawyer. 

The AHRC has written a separate letter to UN Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment seeking an intervention in the case.

To support this case, please click here: SEND APPEAL LETTER


Dear ________, 

INDIA: Torture of the student by Peechi Police must be investigated 

Name of victim: M. D. Binu, aged 19 years, son of Devassi, Moorkanattil house, Chennaypara post, Peechi, Thrissur district, Kerala 
Name of alleged perpetrators: Mr. Gopinathan Menon, Sub Inspector of Police, Peechi Police Station, Thrissur district, Kerala 
Date of incident: 14 to 16 June 2010 
Place of incident: Peechi Police Station 

I am writing seeking your intervention in the case of torture of a student, Mr. M. D. Binu, aged 19 years, by the Sub Inspector of Police Mr. Gopinathan Menon of Peechi Police Station. I am informed that the police took Binu, the victim in this case, into custody on 14 June 2010 at about 9.30pm and took him to the Peechi Police Station on an allegation of theft. 

I am concerned to know that some persons had detained Binu the same day at about 8pm at a place near the police station on suspicion of theft. When Binu tried to explain to them that he is not a thief and that he should be set free, they chased him and assaulted him before handing him over to the police. 

I am concerned to know that once at the police station, the Sub Inspector of Police, Mr. Gopinathan Menon, assaulted Binu at two different occasions to force Binu to confess the crime of theft, which Binu had not committed. I am also informed that the Inspector summoned two of Binu’s friends, Mr. Francis and Mr. Manu to the police station on 15 June and extracted bribes from them to avoid them from being implicated in the false case of theft that was already charged upon Binu. 

Despite the torture, Binu refused to confess the false charge, and continued pleading with the officer that he is innocent and that he is a student at the Victory ITC in Ollukkara in Thrissur district. The Inspector however refused to accept Binu’s innocence and despite the lack of any evidence or investigation, charged Binu with a case of theft and produced him before the magistrate at the magistrate’s residence on 16 June. The police also refused to inform any of Binu’s relatives about his arrest, a procedure mandated by the Supreme Court of India and the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973. 

I am concerned to know that the magistrate did not record Binu’s statement that he was severely tortured by the Inspector whilst in police custody for two days. The magistrate also did not take any action against the police officer despite the fact that Binu was detained in custody beyond 24 hours, the statutory limit for detaining a person in custody. Instead, the magistrate remanded Binu to judicial custody from where he was released on bail subsequently. 

I am concerned to know that often victims of police abuse are produced before magistrates at their residences after regular court hours. Even though it is mandated in the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 that the magistrate must record the statement of the accused regarding the treatment of the accused by the police while in custody, the magistrates often neglect this duty and fabricate records by mentioning that the accused had no complaints about the police. I am informed that in some instances, as it has occurred in this case, the magistrates or the doctors refuse to record what the victims have to say at the time of production before the officers, thereby not only breaching the process prescribed by the law, but further denying the victim a credible and vital opportunity to lodge a complaint against the police officer in cases of torture. 

I am also informed that the Sub Inspector involved in this case is a close relative of the State Home Minister. The victim in this case has filed a complaint before the Thrissur District Superintendent of Police against the Sub Inspector. Credible sources have informed the victim that an inquiry conducted by the Superintendent of Police has revealed that the allegations made by Binu against the Sub Inspector are true. Despite this, no action is taken against the officer. Binu suspects that the close relationship between the Home Minister and the Sub Inspector is the only reason why no action is taken against the Sub Inspector. 

I am informed further that the Sub Inspector is now threatening Binu that he would be implicated in other cases and will be taken into custody if he pursues his complaint. 

I therefore request you to kindly intervene in this case and ensure that: 

1. A judicial magistrate records the statement of the victim, Binu, and that of the two witnesses to the incident, Mr. Francis and Mr. Manu at the earliest; 
2. The Sub Inspector of Police suspended from service pending an investigation into the case; 
3. A separate case initiated against the Sub Inspector for demanding and accepting bribes; 
4. The Kerala High Court conduct an inquiry into the conduct of the magistrate who refused to record Binu’s statement; 
5. The inquiry report of the Superintendent of Police Thrissur based on the complaint filed by Binu be made available to Binu or to his lawyer; 
6. The state government directed to pay interim compensation to the victim, pending investigation and prosecution of the case. 

Yours sincerely, 


1. Justice Jasti Chelameswar 
Chief Justice 
High Court of Kerala 
Through the office of the Registrar, Vigilance Cell 
Kerala High Court 
Kochi, Kerala State 
FAX: +91 484 2391720 

2. Mr. V. S. Achuthanandan 
Chief Minister 
Government of Kerala 
North Block, Secretariat 
Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala 
Fax: +91 471 2333489 

3. Mr. Kodiyeri Balakrishnan 
Minister of Home Affairs 
Government of Kerala 
Room No.216, Third Floor 
North Sandwich Block, Govt. Secretariat 
Thiruvananthapuram 1, Kerala 

4. Director General of Police 
Government of Kerala 
Police Head Quarters 
Thiruvanandapuram, Kerala 
Fax: +91 471 2729434 

5. Mr. Oomen Chandy 
Opposition Leader 
Puthupally House, Jagathy 
Thiruvannathapuram, Kerala 
Fax: +91 471 2315625 

6. The District & Sessions’ Judge 
Thrissur Civil Lanes 
Thrissur district, Kerala state 

Thank you. 
Urgent Appeals Programme 
Asian Human Rights Commission ( 

Document Type : Urgent Appeal Case
Document ID : AHRC-UAC-141-2010
Countries : India,
Issues : Arbitrary arrest & detention, Corruption, Torture,