With the autopsy report of 47-year-old Hari Chavan confirming that he died due to asphyxiation caused by hanging, his family members have refused to take custody of the vendor’s body. They have demanded immediate suspension of the police officers in whose custody Chavan was found dead at the Malwani police station on Thursday morning.
The crime branch officers investigating the custodial death case said not a single policeman was present outside the room in which Chavan was detained. Neither were there any CCTV cameras in the room, officers have found out.
“There is a camera at the entrance of the police station and the footage will help us ascertain the time at which he was brought to the police station. We will be sending the footage, the clothes of the deceased and other items to the forensic laboratory for chemical analysis,” said a crime branch officer.
After the autopsy was conducted, Chavan’s body was to be handed over to his family. However, they refused to accept the body and have decided not to conduct the final rites for Chavan until the “police show a sign of good faith.”
“We demand the suspension of the officers who were in charge. The policemen should not get away with what they did,” said Lala Kale, Chavan’s relative. “His wife is still in hospital, and is unaware of her husband’s death. Her health is fragile; we don’t want to shock her.”
Malwani continued to remain tense on Friday, with policemen present at various junctions in the area. Locals staged a protest, obstructing traffic in and around Malwani for more than two hours. Riot control police personnel were deployed outside the police station.
Ramdas Athawale, chief of the Republican Party of India (RPI) also visited the family on Friday afternoon.
“We have recorded statements of a f ew policemen of the detection staff of the police station. We will also record statements of the family members today, including that of Chavan’s daughter, who spotted her father’s body,” said Sunil Deshmukh, assistant commissioner of police, crime branch. Sources said statements of 10 people have already been recorded.