Investigation into the alleged custodial death of 24-year-old fruit seller Sompal has revealed that the Adarsh Nagar station house officer (SHO) had used his official car to dump the victim’s body near the Metro station where it was later spotted by a passerby. Sources said he was helped by five other police personnel in transporting the body so as to pass it off as unidentified.
“Administrative action has been taken. An FIR has been registered. It is an unfortunate incident. The allegations are serious in nature. The SHO and other officers have been removed from their post. Their role will be probed,” said Dependra Pathak, Delhi Police Spokesperson.
Sompal was detained from outside the Azadpur Mandi by two beat policemen when he entered into an argument with another vendor.
He allegedly fell to his death from the terrace of the Adarsh Nagar police station on December 28. The case was brought to light by a whistleblower from the station even as the accused allegedly tried to destroy the evidence.
A senior officer said after dumping Sompal’s body, the SHO went on leave fro two days. He allegedly instructed his five staff members to remain silent and continue their duty. However, when the district DCP and other top officers at the police headquarters learnt about the incident, they summoned the SHO and the other five policemen. During the questioning, the SHO claimed innocence and alleged that he was unaware about the incident.
While he said that he was on leave when the incident took place, the other five policemen spilled the beans. “The five claimed that they did everything on the directions of the SHO. They claimed that it was the SHO who had asked them to dump the body and destroy evidences such as blood spots from the courtyard where Sompal had fallen to death,” said the officer.
The six police personnel, including the SHO, have been suspended and booked under sections of culpable homicide (304 IPC), wrongful confinement (342 IPC), destruction of evidences (201 IPC) and common intention (34 IPC). A probe by the sub-divisional Magistrate has been initiated. The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has taken suo motu cognisance of the incident and issued a notice to the Delhi Police Commissioner, asking for a detailed report in six weeks. The six have been sent to district police lines till further orders.
Family calls for justice
Sompal’s family members, meanwhile, have sought justice over his custodial death. He lived with his aged parents and was the sole bread earner. “We suspect foul play by police in this whole matter. Those who are responsible should be punished. After his death, there is no one to look after his old parents,” said Govardhan, Sompal’s paternal uncle. The family members said that they have not received Sompal’s post mortem report yet.
Sompal was the youngest in the family. His five brothers and two sisters are married and moved out to different places. His father, now 80, was a fruit seller. “After learning about his death his father’s health deteriorated and his mother has refused to eat anything. I do not know if his parents will ever recover,” said Govardhan.
The family had shifted from Indore in Madhya Pradesh to Azadpur Mandi over 30 years ago in search of a better livelihood.