Rajesh Mahato, a twenty-year-old village youth, was hung upside down from bamboo sticks and thrashed mercilessly on Sunday by a village-level leader of the ruling Janata Dal (U).
Rajesh had to be rushed to Patna Medical College and Hospital, where he is still battling for his life.
The charge: Attempted rape of a minor. But Rajesh's father claimed that he was punished because he had asked the leader to return Rs 10,000 that he had taken for an Indira Awaas Yojana unit.
The incident took place at Mansoorpur Halaiya village under Katahara police outpost in Vaishali district, about 55 km from the state capital Patna.
The man who administered 'justice' to Rajesh, Shambhu Sharan Rai, husband of the village head and a JD (U) leader, has been expelled from the party on Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's orders and surrendered to police on Tuesday.
Although the thrashing took place in full public view, no one, even the police at the nearby Katahara post, intervened. One of the villagers recorded the incident on his mobile phone and sent the visuals to the Vaishali District police Chief Sujeet Kumar.
Kumar confirmed the incident.
"I have seen the visual. Stringent action will be taken against Rai and others involved in the incident."
Kumar said Rajesh and his friend Ajay Mahto were accused of attempting to rape a 15-year-old girl in the village on July 23.
The girl's parents complained to the panchayat on July 24. Only Rajesh, among the two accused, turned up for hearing. On July 25, Rai took it upon himself to punish Rajesh.
Nitish Kumar, himself a JD (U) leader, has asked the state police Chief Neelmani to probe the incident.