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Alleged custodial death of D.Gopal at Kodungaiyur police station

Fact finding: Alleged custodial death of D.Gopal at Kodungaiyur police station

Background of the Case:

Gopal-alias-KamalGopal alias Kamal son of Duraisamy aged 26 years was charged in seven cases including two murder cases. He was arrested under Goondas Act and Gopal came out of prison only a month ago. On 15th July 2014 night residents of RR Nagar caught Gopal and his associate Mahesh when they tried to Kill Parthiban. Both Gopal and Mahesh were charged for attempted murder of a gangster, Parthiban of RR Nagar, Kodungaiyur, Chennai.

The police took him to the police station for interrogation about a plan he had hatched to murder another man in Vyasarpadi. Gopal was interrogated by Vyasarpadi police inspector L.Shankar at Kodungaiyur police station. Gopal suddenly complained of giddiness and was taken to Stanely Medical College and Hospital where doctors declared him brought dead. Gopal’s family was not informed about his death.

Campaign for custodial justice and abolition of torture constituted a fact finding team to investigate the matter.


Facts and Sequence of the case: 

  • It is alleged that when Gopal was drunk when he was arrested by Kodungaiyur police. It is alleged that on the early hours of 16th July 2014 during interrogation Gopal complained of uneasiness and lost consciousness. So Gopal was taken to Stanley Medical College and Hospital, wherein the doctors there declared him brought dead on arrival.
  • Police did not allow Gopal’s relatives to see his body while it was kept in the mortuary.
  • Nearly midnight policemen took Gopal’s brother Venkatesan (who waited in the hospital) to the mortuary to identify Gopal’s body. Policemen took Venkatesh’s signature in various forms and some blank white sheets.
  • Venkatesh was taken to MKB Nagar police station and was asked to wait there till next day morning. His cell phone was confiscated by the police and it was switched off by the police. So he could not inform the developments to his family. On 17th July 2014 around 3PM in the afternoon Gopal’s body was handed over to their family members.
  • Some higher official from the police department gave Gopal’s family members Rs 25,000/- for Gopal funeral expenses.The police itself arranged for putting shamiana and other rituals. Large numbers of police personal were deployed for the funeral procession.

Gopal is a habitual offender. He went to prison twice earlier. When Gopal was in the prison police went to his sister’s house searching for him in connection with some crimes. This clearly shows Gopal could have been wrongly implicated and arrested earlier by police. Parthiban’s sister told Parthibhan does not know Gopal and got nothing to do with Gopal’s arrest and death. But when the fact finding team interviewed Parthibhan he said he filed a written complaint about Gopal but said he doesn’t know why Gopal tried to kill him. Gopal’s relatives say Gopal had a very strong physic and was in good health condition. So it is hard to believe that Gopal had giddiness and feel unconscious during interrogation. Even though Gopl’s parents and sister live near by the police station they were not informed of Gopal’s death. They came to know about Gopal’s death only through the news reporters. Gopal’s brother Venkatesh was also illegally detained in police station and his cell phone was also confiscated by the police. Police insisted Gopal’s relatives to cremate Gopal’s body quickly. Also Gopal’s father was given Rs one lakh and asked not to approach any higher forum regarding Gopal’s death and to keep quiet.