Delhi Police face allegations of custodial death

July 18th, 2008 - 11:17 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, July 18 (IANS) Angry family members of a man, who died allegedly after a policeman beat him up during questioning in a theft case, Friday staged a demonstration outside a police station in northwest Delhi, demanding action against the official. According to family members, Umesh, in his mid-20s, died after a constable posted in the Swaroop Nagar police station brutally beat him up Thursday in a case of mobile theft.

According to the police, the constable on patrol received a complaint about his mobile phone’s theft and the complainant suspected Umesh. Following this, the constable went to Umesh’s house to question him but could not meet him.

Umesh, his mother and his brother-in-law later went to meet the constable, who allegedly roughed him up.

When his condition deteriorated, the family took him home and then to a nearby hospital, where he died Thursday.

Refuting the allegations of custodial death, Delhi Police spokesman Rajan Bhagat said Umesh was called only for interrogation in the theft case.

“After reaching home, he reported his illness and the family took him to the hospital where he died. We have ordered a sub-divisional magistrate enquiry and the matter is being investigated,” Bhagat said.

“If any foul play is found in the post-mortem report, we would take action against our men accordingly,” he added.

In May, special staff of the southwest Delhi Police were accused of torturing a young man to death in a police post of Dhuala Kaun area. The police had detained the man in a chain snatching case.

According to Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR) as many as 7,468 people, at an average of 1,494 people per year or about four people per day, have died or been killed in prison and police custody in the country during 2002 to 2007.

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