Chandigarh: SI accused of extortion alleges custodial torture, court denies further remand
Looking at medical reports from GMSH, Sector 16, confirming four injuries, the court denied Chandigarh Police’s request for further remand
Produced in court on Monday after completion of three-day police remand, dismissed Chandigarh Police sub-inspector (SI) Naveen Phogat, an accused in the ₹1.01 crore extortion case from August, alleged “third-degree torture” in custody.
Looking at medical reports from GMSH, Sector 16, confirming four injuries, the court denied police’s request for further remand, while also directing GMCH, Sector 32, to constitute another medical board and submit a report as soon as possible.
Posted as additional station house officer (SHO) at the Sector 39 police station before his dismissal, Phogat is accused of kidnapping a Bathinda-based businessman, Sanjay Goyal, and extorting ₹1.01 crore from him by threatening to kill him in August this year.
After remaining on the run for three months, Phogat surrendered before court on November 24. Following his arrest, the medical report reflected no fresh wound or injury.
He was sent to three-day police remand, which ended on Monday, when the police sought three more days to question him on the grounds that ₹26 lakh of the extortion money had yet to be recovered, besides whereabouts of the remaining accused were also unknown.
Objecting to this, Phogat’s counsel advocate Mandeep Kumar claimed that DSP Charanjit Singh Virk and other police officials gave “third-degree treatment” to Phogat, inflicting numerous injuries on his body.
He moved an application to get his medical examination done by a medical board at GMSH, Sector 16, which was allowed and the same day, he was examined.
Subsequently, the report mentioned four injuries: “Bluish black contusion over pinna of both ears and around left eye. Complaint of pain over right knee, diseased hearing from both ears.”
As per the report of the medical officer, “Injury number 2 (diseased hearing from both sides) is simple, while injury numbers 1, 3, 4 are reserved for final opinion. The probable duration of the injuries were two to four days and the weapon used is blunt one.”
On Wednesday, the court stated it was clearly seen that Phogat was having problem walking and was standing with the help of a police official.
“The medical report, dated November 27, clearly shows four injuries on the body of accused and the probable duration was two to four days. The duration falls within the duration of his police custody,” the court said.
It added: “It is not the version of SHO or IO that injuries were self-inflicted or that he entered into a scuffle or fight with other accused during his custody. This leads to only one inescapable conclusion, at the stage (which is subject to investigation and evidence) that the injuries were inflicted on the accused during police custody.”
Quoting a Supreme Court judgment, the court said: “Nothing is more cowardly and unconscionable than a person in police custody being beaten up and nothing inflicts a deeper wound on our constitutional culture than a state official running berserk regardless of human rights.”
The court further observed, “It seems that police failed to follow procedures and safeguards directed by Supreme Court. It is the duty of IO to make sure the accused is not tortured during police custody.”
As such, it allowed the application for another medical examination to establish whether the injuries were inflicted during police custody or not.
The court also issued a letter to CMO/ MS, GMCH-32, directing them to constitute a board of directors for conducting the complete medical examination of the accused as soon as possible and submit the report before the magistrate concerned.
“In view of the fact that the accused was tortured during police custody, further request of police custody is rejected and the accused is remanded to judicial custody till December 11. Medical examination be conducted as per rules,” the court added.