‘Custodial violence’- Delhi High Court transfers Tihar inmate death case to CBI
The Delhi High Court has transferred the investigation into the alleged murder of Tihar jail inmate Ankit Gujjar to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), saying he ‘lost his life to custodial violence’.
The Delhi High Court has also directed the agency to file a status report after carrying out the investigation into the case. The status report needs to be filed before the next date of hearing — October 28.
“Walls of prison, howsoever high they may be, the foundation of a prison is laid on the Rule of Law ensuring the rights to its inmates enshrined in the Constitution of India. It is the violation of these Constitutional rights of Ankit Gujjar, who lost his life to custodial violence in Tihar Jail, which has compelled the petitioners Geeta, Shivani and Ankul, the mother, sister and brother of deceased Ankit Gujjar to file the present writ petition,’ the judge was quoted by news agency PTI as saying.
“It is a very serious offence which requires in-depth investigation” If the family’s allegations of extortion in the prison are correct, the court said.
“This court deems it fit to transfer the investigation of case FIR No.451/2021 under Sections 302/323/341/34 IPC registered at PS Hari Nagar, Delhi to CBI. The case file be transferred to CBI immediately by the concerned police station,” the court said.
WHAT GUJJAR’S FAMILY ALLEGE?
Ankit Gujjar, 29, was found dead inside his cell in Tihar jail on August 4. His family has alleged that he was being harassed by the jail officials as he was “unable to meet their regularly increasing demands for money” and was murdered “as a part of pre-planned conspiracy”.
The family’s petition further alleged that the jail authorities in Tihar were operating an “organised extortion syndicate” and the police was trying to manipulate the investigation in order to save and shield the culprits.
It alleged “culpability of the entire administration” on the ground that the CCTV were ordered to be shut down by an official at the time of when the deceased was beaten, PTI reported.
WHAT DELHI HC OBSERVED?
The Delhi High Court said the post-mortem report of the deceased “belies the version” of the jail officials that a scuffle took place in which both Deputy Superintendent and Gujjar received injuries.
“It is unfathomable that the jail doctor failed to see the multiple injuries on the deceased,” the court said.
An investigation was needed into not only the offence of brutal beating of the deceased but also into “the role of jail doctors in not providing proper treatment at the right time”, the court said.
According to PTI, the court also observed that the Director General (Prisons) “failed to notice the connivance/laxity” of the jail deputy superintendent who did not permit the local police to go inside the jail to inquire into the PCR call made in relation to the beating of the deceased on the intervening night of August 3-4.
The court said the case called for “immediate remedial actions” by the authorities to ensure that “unscrupulous officers” do not take advantage of non-functional CCTVs to get away.
It sought a status report from the Director General (Prisons) on streamlining the CCTV system in jail, accountability of the jail officers and doctors as well the mechanism by which immediate entry is provided to the police to the jail on receipt of an information of a cognizable offence, the PTI report said.
Meanwhile, the Delhi Police claimed that the investigation was going on in a fair manner and that the deceased, who was found to be in possession of a mobile phone amongst other things, had attacked the Deputy Superintendent earlier in the day.
In its status report, the jail administration said four officials, including the Deputy Superintendent, have been suspended and eight others have been shifted from Central Jail No.3 and ordered to report to the Superintendent, PHQ till further orders.
(With inputs from PTI)
(News Source -Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by Times Of Nation staff and is published from a www.indiatoday.in feed.)
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