NHRC orders probe in 2014 custodial death case in UP

Lucknow : The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has ordered a probe into the alleged custodial death of a 30-year-old man in Etah district in 2014.

The NHRC has asked the Crime Branch, Crime Investigation Department (CB-CID) to probe the matter.

The NHRC has sent a notice to the chief secretary, home secretary and DGP of Uttar Pradesh Police, directing that the investigation should be conducted by an officer, not below the rank of additional superintendent of police (ASP).

A complaint filed by an RTI activist Sunil Kumar in 2014 to the NHRC mentioned that victim Balak Ram, a labourer, was on his way to a local market on July 12, 2014, when police intercepted him and took him into custody for his alleged involvement in a “loot” case.

He was later allegedly thrashed to death at the Aliganj police station.

The post-mortem report revealed that there were ‘abrasion and abraded contusions on his elbow, buttock and knee joints. No poisonous substance was detected in the viscera’.

Later, the autopsy report and the FSL report stated the cause of death as ‘shock due to ante mortem external injuries.’

An enquiry into the incident leading to the death of Balak Ram was conducted by Etah ADM, who stated that the victim was beaten up by the public and not the police.

Balak Ram’s family members alleged that he was picked up by police.

Sunil Kumar, the RTI activist, said, “Police were unable to prove that Balak Ram was guilty of any criminal activity. In four FIRs registered against unknown persons, his name was added as an accused. However, in none of these cases a charge sheet was filed.”

The police linked Balak Ram’s death to a case of loot with two persons travelling on a bike. The case was registered against three unknown men. One of the accused, which police claimed to be Balak Ram, was caught by the villagers.

NHRC in its order has mentioned six specific points considering the fact that the man died due to ‘external injuries’.

The commission’s order mentioned, “Police could not trace the other two co-accused in this case; nothing has been mentioned about any recovery of stolen properties; CD of post-mortem examination has not been provided by the authority concerned; family members alleged that Balak Ram was picked up by the police; there were no criminal records against him; seized arms and ammunition were not sent for forensic examination.”

NHRC stated that the investigation division has recommended by keeping in view the aforesaid observations that there is apparent suspicion on the police version with regard to the death of Balak Ram, who was in their custody. — IANS

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