A sub-divisional magistrate has put the credibility of a deputy commissioner's orders under serious doubt, as he has not only failed to file a report within stipulated period of one week, but also crossed the limit by almost three weeks.
Sangrur deputy commissioner Kumar Rahul had directed a sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) to probe the reported third-degree torture of a youth in illegal police custody and report to him within a week. It's going to be close to a month since these orders were passed, but the inquiry officer is yet to do the needful, casting a shadow on the authority of the DC.
The DC entrusted the inquiry to the SDM after Hindustan Times reported, in its May 11, 2012 edition, how the Punjab police allegedly kept a 30-year-old youth in illegal custody for seven days, inflicted third-degree torture on him and unsuccessfully pressured him to sign a statement that three of his friends and his sister were "terrorists".
On Friday (today), the DC sent an urgent fax message to SDM Gurdev Singh, who was supposed to submit his report by May 18, asking for a status update.
The SDM, when contacted, confirmed that he was still probing the matter. "Time lagg hi jandaa hunda hai ji inha inquirian vich, (Such inquiries do take time)," he quipped, when asked for the reason for over three-week delay in the probe. He further said there was "no need to formally seek an extension (from the DC) in the probe period".
The victim, Sukhwinder Singh, and his family members have so far been denied the copies of their statements recorded by the SDM. After recording the statements of Sukhwinder, his mother, sister and another person as a part of the probe, the SDM in question had summoned the cops identified by the victim to record their statements as well on May 18.
Sukhwinder had accused the cops of forcibly picking him on April 23 from Banur bus stand and torturing him for seven days before presenting him before a magistrate in Sangrur to show his formal arrest on April 30.
Sukhwinder's mother, Harpal Kaur, had meanwhile moved the Punjab and Haryana high court on April 26, reporting that her son was missing since April 23.
Sukhwinder's sister Amarjit Kaur, in her statement as the eyewitness, also accused the cops of picking up her brother from the Banur bus stand.
Sukhwinder alleged the cops inflicted electric shocks on his private parts, moved a heavy roller over his body, kept him naked in a cell for several days without food and then cut off his hair. He claimed that the police picked him up and tortured him at the behest of Baba Ranjit Singh. He said he was told to sign a statement that his sister and three friends were terrorists, but he didn't yield to the pressure and threats.