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Sangli custodial death case: Victim’s body handed over to kin after two months

The mortal remains of Aniket Kothale, 26, which was kept at a lab in Miraj, was brought in four separate boxes and handed over to the bereaved family.

pune Updated: Jan 11, 2018 22:53 IST
Shalaka Shinde
Shalaka Shinde
Hindustan Times, Pune
Pune,Sangli custodial death case,Victim’s body handed
Sangli custodial death accused Aniket Kothale’s family members pay homage during funeral procession at Sangli on Thursday.(UDAY DEOLEKAR)

The mortal remains of Aniket Kothale, the man caught for robbery and who later died in the custody of Sangli police last November, was laid to rest in his hometown in Sangli on Thursday.

The family performed the last rites at Amar Dham, a crematorium where the policemen had first tried to allegedly get rid of his body. The mortal remains, which was kept at a lab in Miraj, was brought in four separate boxes and handed over to the bereaved family.

Kothale, 26, and another accused, Amol Bhandare, 23, were arrested in connection with a robbery case.

The police officers had initially denied the charge that Kothale died in police custody, saying he had tried to run away from the police station.

Special inspector general of police (IGP) of Kolhapur range, Vishwas Nangare Patil, later admitted that ‘Kothale died in police custody due to third-degree torture during police interrogation by sub-inspector Yuvraj Kamte and other police staff. After his death, they carried the body in a private car to Amboli ghat and tried to burn it in an attempt to destroy the evidence’.

Five policemen and a civilian had taken the body of Kothale, along with Amol Bhandare, to Amar Dham to cremate him. However, due to lack of appropriate documents, they could not cremate him.

The accused policemen and some private persons who worked as crime informers had allegedly tried to burn Kothale’s body twice in Amboli ghat in Sindhudurg district.

The burnt remnants of Kothale’s body were later recovered from Amboli ghat after the matter came to light on November 8, 2017, two days after he was murdered. The mortal remains of the deceased, who was father of a three-year-old daughter, underwent various tests and analysis before being handed over to the family.

The case was handed over to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and is investigated by Narendra Gaikwad, Mukund Kulkarni and team. The charge sheet will be filed by February 5, Gaikwad said.

“We have asked the court to grant us the permission to take the six accused through narco test. The application is still pending as the court has to ask the opinion of the defence lawyer before granting permission,” Gaikwad said.

Gaikwad had earlier mentioned that the accused had refused to cooperate in the investigation while they were in CID custody. The accused were remanded to magisterial custody on November 23 and have been in jail ever since. “We have not spoken to them after they were sent to jail,” Gaikwad said.

The police have the crucial statement of Bhandare, sole witness to the crime. When asked if Bhandare had corroborated the sequence of events, Gaikwad refused to reply saying the details of his statement can potentially hamper the investigation.

The police had earlier asked the family to accept the remains of Kothale’s body but Ashish Kothale, the deceased’s elder brother, had refused to do so.

First Published: Jan 11, 2018 22:51 IST