Mumbai: The Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court recently pulled up the Superintendent of Police, Buldhana, for filing a "dissatisfactory" reply and not considering the evidence that indicated possible custodial death of a youth in the district in April, 2019.
A bench of Justices Sunil Shukre and Avinash Gharote also ordered a fresh probe in the matter and has asked the Superintendent of Police to personally look into the matter and make efforts to unearth the truth.
The bench was seized with a plea filed by the mother of the young boy, Gauresh (name changed), who died in mysterious circumstances while in the custody of the officers at Shegaon police station.
Pursuant to an earlier hearing, the cops, accused to have tortured the boy, filed their replies before the judges.
In the replies, the cops admitted that Gauresh was in their custody, but trashed the contention of custodial death or torture. They claimed that the deceased was in a disturbed state of mind and thus banged his head on the walls of the lock-up.
According to the cops, they rushed him to a nearby civil hospital, wherein he was administered first aid. However, he was dropped at Shivani Chowk in the area, where he succumbed.
Having perused the replies, the Bench noted the admission of the cops that on the fateful night intervening 10 and 11 April 2019, the deceased was at Shegaon police station.
"However, the officers have disputed that any harm was deliberately caused to him at police station. The explanation given in the reply is inconsistent with the version of the deceased's mother and also with the information that was received at another police station, in respect of the untimely death of Gaurav," the bench noted.
While further taking into account the contention of the cops that they took Gauresh to a hospital, the judges said, "These facts would show that for a considerable period of time the deceased was under the custody of the concerned police officers. It is a different matter that no record of such custody was created at Shegaon."
"But, from the admitted facts, the inference that can be drawn, at this stage, is that the concerned police officers were indeed having physical and mental control over the deceased and that itself would show that he was in their custody," the bench opined.
The judges further said that now the burden of explaining his death under suspicious circumstances is over to the accused cops.
"Unfortunately, the Superintendent of Police, Buldana, has not considered the material aspects of this case and, therefore, his reply does not satisfy the requirements of law. He should do well and pay his personal attention to the matter and unravel the whole truth of this case," the bench said while ordering a fresh probe in the matter.