The Bulandshahr incident could have been avoided had police undertaken a comprehensive inquiry into a robbery that allegedly took place at a nearby dhaba on the intervening night of June 30-July 1.
It is alleged the police had enquired about the main accused, Raees, but let him off later.
Raees is among the three accused, who were arrested by police on Sunday. Police said that the victim family identified him.
According to owners of the dhaba, which is three to four km from Dostpur on way to Raees’s Mewati village Sutari, 8-10 armed men in the guise of police arrived late night and beat up them and the dhaba workers. The men allegedly robbed the owners of money and gold.
“When police arrived, they asked us who had come to the dhaba in the evening. We told them about a man on a bike having a broken silencer. We did not know Raees by his name then,” said Raj Kumari, wife of the dhaba owner Sonu.
The police did not enquire further as no complainant approached them nor did they lodge an FIR suo motu. The report was widely published by the local media on July 3.
After the recent Dostpur highway robbery and gang-rape incident, Sonu said that police arrived again looking for the same man “with a bike with broken silencer”.
“... Later they arrested the same man (Raees) from Sutari village,” Sonu said.
“They asked me for the same man and took me along in a police jeep. They asked me his name but I did not know his name. I just told them that he is from Sutari village. Later, they took me to his village and Raees was nabbed. He often came to my dhaba to have a smoke and even recently he offered me that he can help me get cheap bikes for `3,000-5,000. However, I declined to buy any such bike,” Sonu said.
“Even on August 2 when Sutari villagers were returning after protest from Kotwali Dehat police station, they abused both of us for implicating Raees. I told them that I had no intention to implicate Raees and just told police that he lived in Sutari,” Sonu added.
Kotwali Dehat station officer Rameshwar Kumar said that there was an incident of robbery reported. “No FIR was lodged since no complainant arrived. Since I have just been posted, I cannot comment much. Raees has no criminal history at present but we are checking with other police stations.”
When HT contacted senior superintendent of police, Anees Ahmad Ansari, he sought local media reports to be sent to him and assured that, “the matter will be enquired and properly investigated”.