Published on: 09 September 2023 at 17:30 IST
The Kerala High Court has issued a directive to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to promptly assume control of the Tanur custodial death case, following the demise of Tamir Jifri, a 30-year-old individual who was taken into custody under suspicion of drug possession and allegedly subjected to custodial abuse by the Kerala police.
Justice PV Kunhikrishnan, presiding over the case, has instructed the CBI to assume responsibility for the investigation from the Kerala Police’s Crime Branch within one week. Additionally, the Crime Branch has been ordered to promptly provide the CBI with the case diary and all relevant documents related to the case.
The Kerala State government has also been directed by the High Court to extend full cooperation and support to the CBI investigative team in their efforts.
The High Court’s decision comes in response to a petition filed by the brother of the late Tamir Jifri, who passed away on August 1 while in the custody of the District Anti-Narcotics Special Action Force (DANSAF). Jifri had been apprehended on suspicion of possessing narcotic drugs.
The petitioner alleged that Jifri, along with 11 others, was taken to a facility in Tanur where he was subjected to severe physical abuse with dangerous weapons. It was further asserted that no narcotics were ultimately found in Jifri’s possession or that of the other detainees.
The petition highlighted that on the night of August 1, Jifri and the others were forced to stand in their underwear, and by 4:30 AM, Jifri had fallen and succumbed to severe injuries sustained during the beating.
Following Jifri’s death, it was alleged that the District Police Chief of Tanur and the Inspector of Police conspired to cover up the incident. The Sub-Inspector of Police was accused of filing a false First Information Report (FIR) against Jifri and four others, claiming they were in possession of a ‘commercial quantity’ of MDMA.
The petition also pointed out that a subsequent FIR under Section 174 of the CrPC inaccurately attributed Jifri’s death to an overdose of MDMA. However, a post-mortem report indicated that Jifri had sustained injuries from the beating that contributed to his demise.
The petitioner contended that the Crime Branch failed to conduct a proper investigation into these matters, and no arrests were made in connection with the case, except for the suspension of 8 police officers, including 3 DANSAF members.
Furthermore, the petitioner expressed concerns that the Crime Branch continued the investigation despite the case’s transfer to the CBI and alleged that certain police officials had attempted to challenge the findings of the police surgeon regarding the post-mortem examination.
In light of these circumstances, the petitioner sought the High Court’s intervention to transfer the investigation to the CBI, a request that has now been granted by the Court.