Comparing an 18 year old case of custodial death to that of "a fence eating away its own crop", a Delhi court on Tuesday sentenced five policemen to varying jail terms for killing a person in their custody.
Additional Sessions Judge K S Mohi awarded five years jail term to ASI Chaman Lal and three constables — Devender Singh, Surender Singh and Suresh Kumar - while head constable Ramesh Chand was sent to jail for three years.
All the policemen were suspended earlier.
The court also imposed a fine of Rs 2,000 on Chaman Lal who was held guilty of culpable homicide not amounting to murder and destruction of evidence.
The case pertains to the Patel Nagar police station where erstwhile ASI Chaman Lal and his subordinates had picked up the victim Madan Lal on suspicion of theft in 1993. Madan Lal was tortured inside the police station, leading to his death.
"In the instant case, a precious human life has been lost at the hands of those who were expected to protect the life and liberty of the citizen of the country," the court said.
"The crime committed by the accused persons is dehumanizing and obviously an affront to the human dignity," the judge said.
CBI had registered an FIR against five persons -- Chaman Lal, Ramesh Chand and Surinder Singh, Suresh Kumar and Devender Singh--on November 29, 1993. CBI filed the charge sheet against the accused policemen under sections 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) and 201 (destruction of the evidence).