Seven police officers have been suspended in Kerala after the death of a fellow officer in Palakkad last week. Kumar NK's body was found on a railway track on July 25. His wife, Sajini RS, has alleged her husband faced repeated harassment from his colleagues because he belonged to a Scheduled Tribe.
However, police sources say early investigations suggest there was no caste-based harassment. The officers were suspended for procedural lapses in allocation of housing quarters and forcefully removing Kumar NK's belongings from those assigned quarters.
"Preliminary investigation shows no caste-based targeting or harassment, but a Crime Branch probe is underway to find out more details on that," G Siva Vikram, the district police chief for Palakkad district, said on Thursday.
"Meanwhile, a departmental enquiry has also been ordered to probe further the procedural lapses. We have suspended seven police officials, to ensure free and impartial enquiry," he added.
The post-mortem report is still awaited.
Kumar NK's wife had earlier confirmed that a suicide note that had been recovered was in her husband's handwriting, but said she suspected foul play nevertheless.
"I suspect foul play. In the letter, my husband has specifically accused some senior police officers of harassing him. They forcefully evicted him from his new housing quarters. He also told me on several occasions about how these people were mistreating him because of his background," she said earlier this week.
A special team, led by the Palakkad Special Branch Superintendent of Police, has been formed to investigate the case.
NK Kumar, 30, who belonged to a tribal hamlet from the Attappadi region, had been attached to an Armed Reserve Camp in Palakkad.
He had earlier been declared a "deserter" on disciplinary grounds, according to the police, but was eventually re-instated into the force. He was supposed to re-join, after being granted a short period of leave, on July 24, but failed to report for duty.
His body was found on the railway track the following day.