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HC asks Delhi govt to look into custodial death of Tihar inmate

The Delhi high court on Wednesday was shocked and anguished by the death of an under-trial prisoner, who was allegedly stabbed to death with a knife in November 2020 at Tihar jail, and directed the authorities to update it about the status of the investigation into the custodial death
PUBLISHED ON FEB 24, 2021 11:47 PM IST

The Delhi high court on Wednesday was shocked and anguished by the death of an under-trial prisoner, who was allegedly stabbed to death with a knife in November 2020 at Tihar jail, and directed the authorities to update it about the status of the investigation into the custodial death.

Justice Prathiba M Singh was hearing a plea by the inmate’s father Ali Sher, who had moved the court seeking a compensation of 5 crore for the custodial death of his son, Dilsher Azad. Azad’s counsel, Vishal Raj Sehijpal, said his client was accused of illegally confining a person, extortion and criminal conspiracy in a case lodged in 2019. His bail plea was pending before Delhi high court when he was killed.

“I don’t know how something like this can happen. It is shocking. We see such things only in fiction,” Singh said, adding that the CCTV footage on the date of the incident should have been confiscated.

“I had visited the Tihar jail once, and they have a very small time period for which they preserve the CCTV footage. Nowadays, we have cloud servers, so the issue of storage space is not there anymore,” the judge said.

In his plea, Sher said Azad was an under-trial prisoner at Tihar Jail since September 2019. On November 30, 2020, he received a call from police informing him about the death of his son.

The plea contended that when he reached the jail, the prison authorities did not cooperate with him and he was not told the real cause of death. After Sher called a lawyer, he was informed that his son was stabbed to death with knives.

The court asked the Delhi government, represented by additional standing counsel Sanjoy Ghose, to file a status report, indicating whether an FIR has been lodged in connection with the incident and, if so, the status of the investigation.

During the proceedings, Ghose also said “it was a matter of great concern” that something like this had happened in the national capital. He said there were nine stab wounds on the victim’s body.

The court further said the report shall also indicate whether the CCTV footage of the cell where the victim was housed has been recovered and preserved and, if yes, in what manner. It also asked whether any charge sheet has been filed in the case and, if so, the status of the trial in that case.

The matter would be now heard on March 5.

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