4 Mumbai cops thrashed 22-yr-old, blamed mob for his, admits police to HC
According to the report, Devendra’s family members have alleged that on March 30 during the lockdown, when they were going to meet a relative, a police team chased them and caught the deceased.Updated: Jul 23, 2020, 23:46 IST
The assistant commissioner of police (ACP) of Bandra division, Mumbai Police, on Thursday, informed the Bombay high court (HC) that he has identified the four police personnel, who had assaulted Raju Velu Devendra, one of the two purported victims of police atrocities in the city during the lockdown restrictions, and proposed to initiate departmental action against them.
But, HC expressed displeasure over the delay in investigating the case, and directed the ACP to expedite the probe and submit a progress report by August 5, and posted the next hearing of the case the following day.
The nationwide lockdown restrictions were enforced from March 25 in a bid to contain the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak in Mumbai.
So far, Juhu police had maintained that Devendra (22) was a victim of mob assault.
They claimed that he was brutally assaulted by a mob because he was caught stealing and had also registered a case against eight purported members of the mob.
On Thursday, a government lawyer supported the ACP’s stand.
She informed the two-member HC bench, comprising Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Anuja Prabhudessai, that in terms of earlier court order she had personally viewed the closed-circuit TV (CCTV) footage that captured the incident of the assault on the deceased, but did not find any mob assaulting him.
“Only the four policemen are seen to have used fiber lathis in a bid to discipline the deceased,” she said.
She, however, added that further investigation was required to ascertain, if the deceased, indeed, succumbed to the injuries caused because of the use of the fiberglass lathis by the erring policemen.
She was responding to a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by lawyer and human rights activist Firdause Irani, raising concerns about police excesses during enforcement of the nationwide lockdown restrictions.
Besides pointing out the assault on him, his wife and two sons by a team of policemen and civic body personnel outside his house in Goregaon (West), Irani has also highlighted a report of a human rights organisation that had revealed that a total of 15 people, including two from Mumbai, had lost their lives across the country due to police brutalities during the lockdown.
Devendra was one of the Mumbai victims.
According to the report, Devendra’s family members have alleged that on March 30, when they were going to meet a relative, a police team chased them and caught the deceased.
The police personnel, the report added, informed the relatives that they were taking Devendra to Juhu police station, but in the morning they were informed by the police that he was lying at Nehru Nagar Chowk.
He was declared brought dead on arrival, when his relatives took him to a hospital.
The investigation into the case was entrusted with the ACP, Bandra division, in view of the allegations against the police personnel.
On Thursday, HC, however, noted that two important witnesses in the case, Devendra’s mother and the brother did not co-operate with the investigation and though necessary, their statements were not recorded to date.
Taking note of this anomaly, the bench has directed the ACP to issue fresh notices to them and make an endeavour to get their statements recorded by August 5.
The second case pertained to the death of a porter, Sagir Jamal Khan, who was allegedly caught by police on April 18, when he was driving a handcart to deliver a refrigerator in Null Bazaar locality.
The on-duty police personnel hit him on his head, hand and back.
Later in the day, Khan suddenly collapsed while having dinner, and was declared brought dead on arrival, when he was taken to a hospital.
According to the police, his post-mortem examination report has revealed that he died due to the enlargement of the heart.