A Special Investigation Team (SIT) arrested four constables attached to Juhu police station on Wednesday, for allegedly assaulting a Nehru Nagar youth to death in March. The SIT probe found the four policemen guilty of causing the death of 22-year-old Raju Velu Devendra. These Juhu constables had been earlier suspended from duty after they were identified in the Bombay High Court.The SIT team, formed under the supervision of Assistant Commissioner of Police Milind Khetle, found the involvement of four policemen -- Police Naiks Santosh Desai and Anand Gaikwad; Police Constables Digambar Chavan and Ankush Palve -- in assaulting Devendra to death on the intervening night of March 29 and 30.
Last month, these four constables were suspended for allegedly beating Devendra to death, apparently after he was caught running on rooftops and roaming around in Nehru Nagar during the lockdown and was suspected to be attempting a robbery. While the previous Deputy Commissioner of Police of the zone had said at the time that Devendra was lynched by the public, the ACP had admitted in the Bombay High Court last month that he had died due to assault in police custody.
The four constables allegedly thrashed Devendra, hoping it would serve as a deterrent to the public about stern police action against those found flouting rules during the lockdown. According to the brother of the deceased, Devendra was taken to the police station at 2.30am and around 6am, the police informed his family that he had been lynched. After a public outcry, the department had ordered an internal inquiry.
Until the admission in the HC, Juhu Police had stuck to their version of the events, claiming that Devendra was attacked by the public after he was spotted on the rooftop of a house, attempting a robbery. They had also booked eight people for murder, unlawful assembly and rioting charges to prove their theory.