Family members of Cipriano Fernandes who died in police custody have rejected Home Minister Ravi Naik’s disclosure to constitute a Special Investigating Team to probe the incident, claiming that it is an attempt by the minister to shield his officers.
“Ravi is trying to dilute the charges against the police personnel involved in the murder by handing it over to the SIT,” said Cosme Fernandes, Cipriano’s cousin.
He questioned the need to have another enquiry into the custodial death when there are four enquiries by different agencies under way at the moment and more so when the judicial enquiry has already concluded that Cipriano died while in police custody.
Cipriano’s death is being probed by the Sub-Divisional Magistrate Sabaji Shetye as mandated by the law. Besides, the Police instituted a departmental enquiry to be conducted by Deputy Superintendent of Police Bossuet da Silva, which has already come to the conclusion that there were procedural lapses on the part of the police.
Following Da Silva’s preliminary report, Police Inspector Sandesh Chodankar, Police Sub Inspector Radhesh Ramnathkar and Head Constable Sandip Shirwaikar have been suspended from service.
The State Police Complaints Authority, taking suo motto cognizance of the incident has also initiated an independent enquiry and the Judicial Magistrate First Class is also hearing a petition filed by a social activist against the State for not registering a case of murder against the involved police personnel.
Cosme opined that the SIT will only serve the purpose of delaying taking action against the erring officials as the excuse given will be that its report is awaited.
“As long as the government continues to play such tricks, we shall not get justice,” he said.