‘Custodial death is abhorrent, unacceptable’ - Hindustan Times
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‘Custodial death is abhorrent, unacceptable’

By, Panchkula
Jul 17, 2021 12:06 AM IST

Observing that custodial death is “abhorrent” and “unacceptable” in a civilized society, the special court of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Haryana has awarded life imprisonment to the then constable and three-year jail to an inspector in a 2007 custodial death case

Observing that custodial death is “abhorrent” and “unacceptable” in a civilized society, the special court of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Haryana has awarded life imprisonment to the then constable and three-year jail to an inspector in a 2007 custodial death case.

The case dates back to 2007, when Bhuvan Dutt, of Kalram village in Karnal was burnt alive at Madhuban police station. In November 2010, an FIR was registered by the police. (iStock)
The case dates back to 2007, when Bhuvan Dutt, of Kalram village in Karnal was burnt alive at Madhuban police station. In November 2010, an FIR was registered by the police. (iStock)

The court has imposed a fine of 61,000 on convict Pawan Kumar, who was held guilty under Sections 302, 342 and 348 of the IPC read with Section 34 of the IPC.

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Kumar is currently posted as the head constable in traffic police staion, Sector 4, Panchkula.

Convict inspector Ranbir was held guilty under Sections 342, 348 and 218 of the IPC read with Section 34 of the IPC and directed to pay 31,000.

The case dates back to 2007, when Bhuvan Dutt, of Kalram village in Karnal was burnt alive at Madhuban police station. In November 2010, an FIR was registered by the police.

However, the case was handed over to CBI following the August 23, 2011 order of the high court’s order in August 2011.

Deceased Bhuvan’s name had appeared in a murder case of a photographer in July 2007. He had sustained burn injuries on September 1, 2007 and died on September 3, 2007 at PGIMS, Rohtak.

CBI mentioned that Dutt had disclosed in his dying declaration that he was implicated in a 2007 murder case and was in the police station for the past three days where police physically tortured him.

“To extract a confession from him, inspector Pawan had parked a motor cycle beside Bhuvan Dutt and after taking out petrol from the said motorcycle and pouring it on Dutt, he enquired from Dutt about his involvement in the said murder case. Pawan further set him on fire with a matchstick to extract a confession from him,” Dutt’s dying declaration mentioned.

CBI special judge Dr Sushil Kumar Garg observed Dutt was “set on fire by the police officials” and it is a case of “custodial death” and no other hypothesis could be made out.

“It is crystal clear that it was accused Pawan, who had set Dutt ablaze while he was in police custody, in his endeavour to extract favourable statement/disclosure in the murder case of Rajinder photographer.”

While the two pleaded for lenient view, the public prosecutor for the CBI, KP Singh, argued that convicts have misused the power given to them by the statute being police officials, hence maximum punishment be given.

Dr Garg observed, “Law enforcers are protectors of life and property and not death dealers. Illegal acts of the accused have severely eroded public trust in law enforcement and caused social harm. The case touched a raw nerve among people because of determined legal battle to bring to justice the killer of Dutt.”

Observing that convicts do not deserve any sympathy, the court added, “Death due to custodial violence is abhorrent and not acceptable in a civilized society. The offence committed by the accused is a crime not against the deceased alone but against humanity as well.”

He said, “It is a matter of public concern, when the protector of people and society instead of protecting people adopts brutality and inhumanly beat the person who come to the police station for their grievances.”

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