The in-charge of Chachariya police post in Barwani district of Madhya Pradesh was suspended on Wednesday following the alleged custodial death of a 51-year-old tribal man, whose decomposed body was found in a field, three days after his arrest in a marital dispute.
Rem Singh was reportedly arrested by the police on October 8 after he fought with his wife over harvesting of soybean crop at their village Bhampura, near Barwani. On a complaint by his brother-in-law, also Rem Singh, police arrested the former.
General secretary of Adivasi Mukti Sangthan Gajanand Brahmane, who met the Barwani’s superintendant of police Siddharth Bahuguna, alleged that police thrashed Singh at his home and took him to the police post at Chachariya, where he was beaten again.
‘Police demanded bribe of Rs 10,000’
“Next morning when the sarpanch and the brother-in-law went to the police post and sought his release, police demanded a bribe of Rs 10,000 and beat him again in front of us. We offered Rs 2,000, but police was adamant for the said amount,” Brahmane said.
He alleged that as Singh died because of repeated beating, the police dumped his body near Khurmabad, four kilometres from Chachariya.
“Some villagers saw the body and informed the police. After his identification, the police took the body for post mortem to the government hospital at Sendhwa, but did not inform the family,” Brahmane alleged.
Just before the autopsy was to be conducted, Singh’s family and other tribals gathered at the hospital and prevented doctors from conducting it. They demanded registration of murder case against all the personnel at the police post and sought their immediate arrest.
It was only after SP Bahuguna suspended Rai and ordered a probe by SDOP Sendhwa Sunil Jolly, to be completed within 10 days that the autopsy was allowed.
Suspended in-charge denies allegations
The suspended in-charge Prakash Rai, however, denied the allegations and said Singh was released the same night as no case was registered.
“As it was a family dispute, police didn’t take cognisance of the matter and registered the case under CrPC 155 and told them to approach the court and released him after a few hours,” he said, expressing ignorance of how the body was found in a field three days later.
The SP said further action will be taken after the inquiry report is submitted.