A 24-year-old fruit seller was killed after falling down from the terrace of the Adarsh Nagar police station in an apparent case of custodial death last week.
Shockingly, the station house officer (SHO) and five other policemen later allegedly tried to hush-up the crime by dumping the man’s body elsewhere and destroying evidence, which included cleaning the blood from the crime scene. They also allegedly manipulated other records at the police station related to the fruit seller’s detention under preventive measures, police sources said.
Even as the police personnel in question tried their best to keep the incident under wraps, it was a whistleblower from the police station that alerted the assistant commission of police (ACP) of Model Town police sub-division. The ACP communicated the matter to DCP (northwest) Milind Dumbre and other senior officers in the Delhi Police headquarters.
An internal enquiry confirmed the involvement of the six police personnel, who were then placed under suspension and sent to district police lines till further orders.
“The six have been booked under sections of culpable homicide (304 IPC), wrongful confinement (342 IPC), destruction of evidences (201 IPC) and common intention (34 IPC). The FIR was registered at the Adarsh Nagar police station,” said Dependra Pathak, Delhi Police spokesperson.
Pathak added that if the men were found guilty, “strict administrative and legal action would be taken against them.”
A senior officer said that the fruit seller Sompal, hailing from Indore, was detained on December 28 from outside the Azadpur Mandi by two beat policemen when he entered into an argument with another vendor. The policemen detained him and brought him to the police station to book him for creating ruckus at a public place under section 107/151 of CrPC.
Sompal’s family members have alleged that at the police station he was allegedly beaten up by three constables, Kuldeep, Indraj and Surender. To avoid further police torture, they suspect, Sompal tried fleeing to the terrace of the police station building and escape from there.
“We suspect that the policemen threw him down from the terrace due to which he died. The final probe report is still awaited,” said Sompal’s elder brother Deena Zamadar, a private driver.
When SHO Sanjay Kumar was informed about Sompal’s death, he along with five other cops allegedly planned to hush-up the matter. Instead of informing his seniors, the SHO took Sompal’s body and dumped it at Shah Alam Bandh Road, some distance from the nearest Metro station. It was later passed off as an unidentified body until a probe revealed the identity of the man, said the officer.
The conspiracy of the six policemen was unraveled when a passerby spotted the body and called the police control room. The investigating officer (IO) of the unidentified body case learnt that the dead man was last seen at the police station.
“As the IO smelled a rat, he alerted the ACP and eventually the entire sequence of events that led to Sompal’s death was established,” said the officer, adding Sompal’s relatives said the body had severe bruises on his face and head.
DCP Milind Dumbre said that an SDM enquiry has also been initiated due to the nature of death. “We are waiting for Sompal’s autopsy report to find out whether he was beaten to death and pushed off the terrace or he ‘accidentally’ fell down while attempting to flee,” he added.