Harikumar, former DySP, Neyyatinkara (Thiruvananthapuram district) and the main accused in the road-rage related murder of Sanal Kumar, was found dead hanging at his family house in Kallambalam on the outskirts of the city on Tuesday.
The officer’s suspected suicide has brought the curtain downs on an inter-State chase for the accused in what the public perceived as a probable case of police excess.
The Neyattinkara DySP allegedly gave Sanal a hefty shove, which caused him to fall in front of a speeding car.
Mr. Harikumar had been on the run from the law since November 4 night. The police had issued look-out notices for the officer and put six plainclothes teams at his heels.
The police case against Mr. Harikumar was that the officer had assaulted a youth named Sanal Kumar following a parking-related altercation. In the melee, Mr. Harikumar allegedly gave Sanal a hefty shove, which caused him to fall in front of a speeding car.
They had tracked him to a lodge in Thriparappu in Tamil Nadu’s Kanyakumari district recently. However, Mr. Harikumar managed to elude arrest and left the locale at the last minute with his longtime associate, Binu, a moneylender. Sanal’s murder has happened in front of Binu’s house.
The incident had cast Mr. Harikumar and, by association, the district leadership of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) under a harsh light.
The Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) alleged that Mr. Harikumar often acted as a henchman of the CPI(M), had financial links with the party’s local leadership and their protection.
The organizations also accused Mr. Harikumar of seeking protection money through proxies from illegal sand miners, spirit smugglers and money lenders in the crime-prone Kerala-Tamil Nadu border locality.
The Congress had also held Mr. Harikumar and his CPI(M) “handlers” responsible for the arrest of Kovalam MLA M. Vincent on “trumped-up charge” of rape last year. The CPI(M) has vehemently denied the allegations.
A senior officer said Mr. Harikumar had a chequered service history and had been suspended at least twice for official misconduct. Mr. Harikumar had maintained his powerful law and order posting in Neyyatinkara despite several cautionary reports from supervisory officers seeking his removal on the grounds of corruption and criminal nexus.
Sanal’s death had become an emotive issue in Neyyatinkara with the dominant social organization, the Vaikunta Swamy Dharma Paripalana Yogam (VSDP) throwing its weight behind the agitation to arrest Mr. Harikumar. Sanal’s widow was on a one-day fast at the spot where her husband was killed.
Investigators said that they had been in touch with Mr. Harikumar’s friends and relatives to press for his surrender. The officer had also moved the district court for anticipatory bail. An official, quoting a close relative of Mr. Harikumar, said he had expressed fear that he would be booed and heckled when the police took him to the scene of the crime. He also had reservations about being remanded in judicial custody along with other accused, some of whom he had arrested in his line of duty.
A detailed inquiry should be conducted by the central investigation agency about DySP Hari Kumar’s death connection with his business associates and political leaders involvement.
Photo credits: Mathrubhumi