Fifteen years after his acquittal by a lower court, the Delhi High Court on Friday sentenced a 63-year-old former Delhi Police Sub-Inspector (S.I.) to 10 years' imprisonment, in a custodial death case.
An Additional Sessions Court had in 1995 acquitted Ranbir Singh, giving him the benefit of doubt in the 23-year-old case.
But the HC concluded there was sufficient evidence he had tortured to death Dayal Singh, a theft case accused, at the Sreenivaspuri police station.
“We are of the view that the impugned judgment, giving benefit of doubt to the accused, cannot be sustained as there is clear and unequivocal evidence on record, establishing his guilt,” observed a bench headed by Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul.
“India is not a police state. The police cannot do whatever it feels like... the respondent has violated the law by resorting to illegal means of third degree to extract confession. This has to be dealt with a firm hand,” said the bench. The court also imposed a fine of Rs 55,000 on the former S.I.
Dayal Singh was taken into custody on September 19, 1986, in connection with the theft of a VCR, cassettes and sarees from a house. He died the next day.
The HC said it was clear from the nature of his injuries that he had been subjected to third degree torture.
“The beating continued day and night; rollers were rolled on his thighs,” said the court.