HC imposes fine of ₹20 lakh on police after custodial death; case given to CBI

A resident of Belgada village, Suresh Rawat was arrested in Gwalior for allegedly assaulting another man on Aug , 2019 and a few hours after the arrest, he died under suspicious circumstances

The Gwalior bench of the Madhya Pradesh high court imposed a fine of ₹20 lakh on five police personnel and a home guard jawan three years after a man died in police custody under mysterious circumstances three years ago in Dabra town.

The single bench of judge GS Ahluwalia also ordered that the case should be handed over to the CBI.

A resident of Belgada village, Suresh Rawat was arrested by local police in Gwalior for allegedly assaulting another man on August 10, 2019. A few hours after the arrest, he died under suspicious circumstances at Belgada police station.

Police claimed the man allegedly died by suicide within 10 minutes during the power cut when CCTV footage was not available.

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However, the family accused that he was thrashed by police personnel.

Later, the five police personnel were booked on charges of murder.

The deceased’s son moved to the high court.

The single bench of judge Ahluwalia on Monday said, “Considering the totality of the facts and circumstances of the case, this Court is of the considered opinion, that the District Police Gwalior and the investigating officers have lost the confidence of this court as right from day one, they were working with a solitary intention to protect the guilty police personnel, therefore, in the light of the judgments passed by the Supreme Court, it is clear that the Gwalior police has miserably failed to conduct a free and fair investigation in the case of a custodial death.”

Accordingly, the investigation of case registered at police station Belgada, Gwalior for offence under Section 302,306,342,34 of IPC and under Section 7 of Prevention of Corruption Act is hereby transferred to CBI, said the court.

All (five) policemen involved in the case should be suspended and their headquarters should be kept 700 km away from Gwalior. They should be kept suspended till the completion of the trial, the court said.

Suresh’s son Ashok said there was a dispute between his father and Khemu Shakya of the village.

The Belgada police registered a case against Rawat but they didn’t file the complaint of Rawat.

Police allegedly demanded ₹20,000 for registering an FIR.

“Police detained my father and thrashed him at the police station. The policemen stopped me from going inside the police station. Policemen Vijay Singh Rajput, Neeraj Prajapati, Vijay Kushwaha, Arun Mishra, Dharmendra, Home Guard soldier Ehsan Khan brought my father out in an unconscious state. He was taken to the hospital where doctors checked him and declared him brought dead,” said Ashok.

However, town inspector Vijay Singh claimed, “Suresh died by suicide. He made two attempts of suicide in the lock-up.”