The custodial death of a 30-year-old man reported from southwest Delhi last week was allegedly triggered by a policeman’s desperate wish to please his boss, said police sources privy to his interrogation.
On the afternoon of May 26, Bindapur resident Manoj was picked up by five policemen led by head constable Bhoop Singh on the basis of an unverified tip from a local informant and tortured to death when he refused to ‘confess’ that he was involved in a bogus firing incident.
HC Singh, sources have told HT, had been pulled up for sloppy fieldwork by the Station House Officer (SHO) of the Bindapur police station, where he was posted, just hours before deciding to detain Manoj to ‘impress his SHO with a fresh arrest’ in response to his complaint.
“At 9am, three hours before Manoj was picked up, the SHO, inspector Kishor Kumar told Bhoop Singh that he had seen a lot of encroachment in the area which fell under his beat,” said a police officer.
“The SHO told Singh that his fieldwork was evidently sloppy and that he wanted him to personally go there and see that action be taken against the encroachers,” the officer added. For good measure and to step up the pressure on Singh, the SHO told him that he was going to attend a court date and wanted to see results when he returned around noon.
According to sources, a desperate Singh then called one of his local informants who tipped him off about Manoj’s involvement in a criminal case of celebratory firing at a recent wedding function in the area.
Without bothering to verify even if such an incident had been reported to the police in the first place, Singh and four constables -- Rajesh, Sudeep, Uttam and Arvind marched down to Manoj’s office in the area before forcing him to accompany them.
He was taken to a dilapidated police property in the same area where he was tortured to death within a few hours of being detained.
“The HC should have had the common sense to at least check local call logs to verify whether the incident had even taken place,” said an officer.
“Instead, he relied on an unverified tip from an informant and, when he realised that he was wrong, became desperate to extract a confession and killed Manoj in frustration,” the officer added. All accused are currently in custody and a judicial enquiry is underway in the matter.