Custodial death of Ludhiana man: SHO among three cops booked after six months
Arrested for a vehicle-lifting case, a 27-year-old insurance company employee, had died following alleged police torture on February 27.Updated: Aug 15, 2020 01:57 IST
Almost six months after a vehicle-lifting suspect died in police custody in February, police have booked the Division Number 5 SHO and two ASIs for his custodial death.
The action came after a local court on Friday dismissed an application filed by the police seeking a stay on a previous court order to lodge the FIR.
The trio – SHO sub-inspector Richa Rani, ASI Charanjit Singh and ASI Jaskaran Singh – have been booked under Sections 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) and 342 (wrongful confinement) of the Indian Penal Code and the Contempt of Court Act.
Deepak Shukla, 27, an insurance company employee, had died at the civil hospital on February 27 after being allegedly tortured by the Division Number 5 police in custody.
His family had approached the court on February 26, hours before his death, alleging police torture. Though Deepak was moved to the civil hospital on the court’s order, he had died on February 27.
Following protests by his family on February 28, commissioner of police Rakesh Agrawal had suspended the SHO, the two ASIs and one constable Mandeep Singh. But, the SHO was reinstated after a few days.
On the family’s plea, a court on March 6 had ordered the police to lodge an FIR against the SHO, the two ASIs and other police personnel, but the police did not take any action and sought a stay by the court on lodging the FIR.
Dismissing their plea on Friday, the court of additional session judge Arun Kumar Aggarwal stated that though the accused cops had claimed that it was the jail authorities and not them, who failed to follow the court order and jail manual, the factual aspects of the case were a matter of investigation after registration of the FIR.
ANOMALIES IN PROBE
Deepak’s uncle Rakesh Shukla had informed the court that on February 22, police had called Deepak’s wife Preeti and informed her about his arrest in a vehicle-lifting case.
Even though Deepak was arrested on February 22, police did not present him in court until February 24, when he was sent to judicial custody.
Even then, the police kept him in illegal custody and shifted him to the jail only on February 25. Rakesh had also claimed that the police had earlier sought a bribe of Rs 1.15 lakh for not registering a case against Deepak, and that they had paid them Rs 25,000.
The police had subsequently informed the court that they were late in taking Deepak to jail due to delay in his medical examination, following which the jail staff refused to admit him.
To this, the court had questioned them that if they were late in taking the accused to jail on February 24, why did they wait till 1pm on the next day to transfer him.
Further, the jail record did not have any mention of Deepak being taken to jail on February 24. The record reflected that he was taken there at 5pm on February 25.
There, Deepak had complained of severe pain in his legs and nausea and was taken to the civil hospital for treatment on February 26, but he died. The autopsy report had suggested that the body had seven injury marks.
The family had later also filed a writ petition in the Punjab and Haryana high court seeking FIR against the errant cops.