Third-degree torture of a group-clash victim and the destruction of material evidence has brought the Zeera police in Ferozepur district bad name.
On Monday, the Punjab and Haryana high court directed the Zeera police to pay Rs 2 lakh to the victim as compensation. The state government will have to pay him another Rs 3 lakh.
The high court bench led by justice Mahesh Grover has also ordered Punjab Police to constitute a special investigation team (SIT) under the command of deputy inspector general (DIG) Kunwar Vijay Pratap Singh that will have two months two months to submit a report. The DIG will select the other members of the SIT.
In an earlier hearing, the high court had ordered the issue of suspension orders to Zira's station house officer (SHO), Sarabjeet Singh, and assistant sub-inspector Kulwant Singh for giving third-degree torture to Gurcharan Singh of Zira in April.
The victim's statement to the Zira bar association suggests that the police had torn his clothes, and stripped him for ultimate torture at the police station. Lawyer Jasmail Singh Brar, representing the Zira bar association, confirmed this statement in court.
The high court had taken suo motu notice of the attack on Gurcharan Singh in the Zira court complex on the morning of April 24. It was blamed on a rival group that included a man named Gurlal Singh. The bar association had taken a representation to the high court to seek an inquiry by the Ferozepur chief judicial magistrate (CJM). It was the CJM who indicted the police officials.
"SHO Sarabjeet Singh; deputy superintendent of police Balwinder Singh Bhikhi; head constables Resham Singh and Sukhdev Singh; and assistant sub-inspectors Kulwant Singh and Davinder Kumar, are found involved also in the destruction of evidence to hush up the matter," the wrote in his report. "The police investigation into the clash was improper, especially when it was clear that Gurcharan Singh could not have inflicted so many wounds on self. The treatment cost him a fortune."
The report also contains that the police never arrested the suspects, and instead went out of its way to help them. The CJM reported to the court that the Zira police had victimised Gurcharan Singh further by branding him insane and laying a false case on him.
The next hearing is on October 17.