Free Press Journal

Sangli Custodial Death: Victim’s family threatens suicide, minister orders probe


Mumbai: In what could spell trouble for IPS Vishwas Nangare Patil, Maharashtra’s Minister of State (MoS) Home Deepak Kesarkar said a probe would be initiated against the former, who is holding the post of Inspector General of Kolhapur Region. This comes after Kesarkar visited the house of Aniket Kothle, whose family urged the minister to issue directions for a thorough probe in the case.

The directions for probe against the IPS official were issued by the minister after Aniket’s family threatened to commit suicide if strict action wasn’t taken. It is alleged that Aniket died because of the third degree torture meted out to him by the Sangli police, while interrogating him in connection with a robbery case. The family has claimed Aniket was killed because he had gahered evidence to expose a sex racket. However, there is no clarity as to who was running the alleged sex racket.

Kesarkar on Sunday met Aniket’s kin and assured justice to his family. “We will strictly deal with the accused. We are gathering evidence to nail them. The family has given me some names and the home ministry’s work is to probe the matter. We will make sure that the family gets justice,” the minister of state for home told reporters.

Kesarkar said Maharashtra Chief Minist er Devendra Fadnavis has agreed to his request for financial aid to the victim’s family. “I have requested the chief minister to financially help the bereaved family and he has agreed to it,” he added.

Meanwhile, Congress MLA Nitesh Rane has taken a dig at Kesarkar over the incident. “It is commendable that the police had the audacity to burn Kothale’s body in the home district of minister of state for home,” Rane tweeted.

Kesarkar, a Shiv Sena leader and Nitesh Rane, both hail from Sindhudurg district of the coastal Konkan region of Maharashtra. Initially, a case was registered against PSI Yuvraj Kamte and five other officers, however, as on Sunday a total of 12 police officials have been suspended and are facing a probe in the case. The probe is being carried out by the Sangli Crime Branch.

According to the investigations so far, it has been revealed that while Kamte and others were beating Aniket, he had complained of breathlessness and had urged them to leave him. However, the cops had continued their third degree torture on him, which led to his death.

As per reports, Kothale and another accused were allegedly taken from the lock-up to the detection branch room, where one of them was hung upside down from a ceiling fan with his head in a bucket of water. The police had allegedly tried to burn his body twice to destroy evidence.

The National Human Rights Commission has issued a notice to the Director General of Police, Maharashtra, after taking suo motu cognizance of media reports that on November 6, police personnel beat to death a young man in custody in Sangli, and burnt his body in order to destroy the evidence.

The DGP has been given four weeks to submit a detailed report in the matter. The commission has also asked him to clarify why the police failed to inform about this custodial death despite the standing guidelines to report such incidents within 24 hours of the incident. The commission observed that the contents of the media reports, if true, are disgusting, and added that law enforcing agencies are for the protection of the people.