A 28-year-old alleged member of an interstate car theft gang died in police custody on Monday morning. Hemant Jain, who hailed from Rajasthan, had complained of respiratory problems.
On May 10, the Kandivli police arrested Hemant, Bharat Jain (31), Hasan Khan (25) and Bhanwarlal Bhil (28) and seized three Boleros that were stolen from Gujarat, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.
“The accused were kept in the same cell at the Borivli police station,” said Senior Police Inspector Suryakant Ghatge of the Kandivli police station.
“On Monday morning, we were informed that Hemant was unwell. At 11.30 am, he was rushed to Bhagwati Hospital where he was immediately put on oxygen. But his condition did not improve and was declared dead at 12.15 pm,” added Ghatge.
“He was suffering from asthma,” said Ramrao Pawar, additional commissioner of police, north region. “Hemant underwent medical examination twice in remand, but no health-related problems had surfaced.”
Dr Mahendra Wadiwala, medical superintendent of the Bhagwati hospital, said: “He was suffering from acute breathlessness when he admitted to the hospital. He succumbed in the casualty ward within 15 minutes even before he could be treated. Only
after the post-mortem we will be able to ascertain whether there were injuries on his body.”
The police said he could have suffered a heart attack.
“The doctors have ruled out that he was subjected to any kind of physical torture. It appears that Hemant suffered a cardiac arrest,” said a senior officer. “He was not even taken for interrogation for the last five days.”
The body will be sent to the JJ Hospital for a post-mortem.
The four accused had reportedly confessed to having coming to the city to sell vehicles stolen from other states. “There are several cases of house break-ins and vehicle thefts against them in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh and a house break-in case each in Diva and Kalyan,” added Ghatge.