A dairy owner from Malerkotla died after being allegedly subjected to third-degree torture by cops during interrogation in Sangrur district.
Manish Kumar (32) died in the intensive care unit (ICU) of Government Rajindra Hospital here on Monday evening.
His family members, who were present in the hospital mortuary on Tuesday, alleged that cops from the Malerkotla city-2 police station allegedly picked up Manish from his house on October 28 in connection with an FIR (first-information report) registered against him under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act.
Lucky Kumar, brother of the deceased, alleged, "Manish was framed in a drug recovery case. He was tortured during interrogation on the premises of the CIA (crime investigation agency) staff centre at Bahadursinghwala on the Sangrur-Dhuri road on the day of his arrest."
He claimed that the police had freed Ashu Kumar and Titu Kumar, from whom they had confiscated smack on October 27.
"Titu was forced to take Manish's name in the case, following which the latter was arrested," Lucky said. After releasing Titu, the police registered a case against Manish.
Titu, who was present at the mortuary, alleged that Manish had been tortured in his presence. "I saw cops giving him electric shocks in the private parts. He was also thrashed with baseball bats and wooden sticks and made to run naked in a ground," Titu said.
On October 29, Manish was shifted to the Malerkotla jail, from where he was sent to the Patiala Central Jail on November 2 on medical grounds. He was admitted to the ICU of Rajindra hospital on November 4 after his condition deteriorated.
"We went to meet Manish at Malerkotla as well as Patiala jails, but despite the formal entry, officials did not allow us to meet him, which raised doubts about his health," Manish's brother said.
The family members also raised slogans against the Punjab police, demanding strict action against the erring cops.
A board of doctors conducted the post-mortem in the presence of duty magistrate Tavleen Singh. The latter also recorded the statements of the victim's family members. The doctors said the cause of death could be ascertained only after receiving the viscera report.
Denying the allegations, Sangrur senior superintendent of police (SSP) Mandeep Singh Sidhu said the police had recovered smack from Manish, adding that the accused was medically fit when he was sent to the Malerkotla jail.
"Being a drug addict, Manish's condition deteriorated due to no intake of drugs, following which he was shifted to the jail's drug de-addiction centre. For better medical and de-addiction facilities, he was taken to the Patiala jail," the SSP said.
"The duty magistrate is already conducting an inquiry. Strict action will be taken against whosoever found guilty," Sidhu added.