Family members of a 35-year-old man have alleged that the latter died during questioning in a north Delhi police station on Monday.
Though the police have suspended the Station House Officer of Gulabi Bagh, they have maintained that the man died due to internal injury sustained during a drug-induced road accident minutes before he and his accomplice could indulge in crime.
Police said around 1:30 p.m. near Gurudwara Nanak Saar in Gulabi Bagh, Vinod Sharma and Shyam Murti Sharma (32), both from Shiva Nagar in Kathua district of Jammu and Kashmir, were en route the congested Shakti Nagar.
“They were under the influence of prescription drugs and other intoxicants. They had come from Gurgaon to commit snatchings and robberies in Shakti Nagar area,” said a senior police officer, who didn’t give his name as he isn’t authorised to speak to media.
Police said Vinod and Shyam are residents of Hari Nagar in Gurgaon and were involved in robbing two vehicles in south Delhi in the last three days.
“The duo lost balance of their stolen motorcycle, which they had snatched at gunpoint at a petrol pump in R.K. Puram on April 4. In a similar way, they had carjacked a Maruti Swift from Dhaula Kuan just a day before,” the officer said.
Police said on Monday the duo got intimidated when onlookers and officers from the local police station tried to help them.
“They brandished a country-made pistol and a dagger and threatened the police and public. Then they tried to flee but were brought under control with force,” said the officer.
Police said the men have confessed to numerous snatching incidents in various parts of the Capital as well as snatching two vehicles on Saturday and Sunday.
“As soon as questioning got over, Vinod fell ill and collapsed on the spot. When we rushed him to the Hindu Rao hospital, he was declared dead on arrival.”
But Vinod’s family had a different story to tell.
“The police are lying,” said Sunil Sethi (27), Vinod's cousin who is a software engineer.
“The police said Vinod's bike had slipped twice because both he and Shyam were under the influence of drugs but there isn't a single scratch on the bike.”
He said Vinod had left his wife and daughter at their house in Jammu and came to the capital in 2008 looking for work.
“He started a small eatery near his Hari Nagar home and then a small business in Gurgaon's Subzi Mandi area. Though both the ventures failed, he was not a criminal,” Sethi said.
Sagar Preet Hooda, DCP (north), said, “The reason behind the death is yet to be ascertained since the post-mortem examination is yet to be conducted.”
“Since there was no official complaint against the duo, the SHO of the said police station has been suspended in the overall interest of fair investigations in the matter. It is purely an administrative step and a judicial inquiry has been launched.”