Delhi Court Convicts 5 UP Cops For Custodial Death In 2006; Sentence To Be Announced Later
A Delhi court convicted five Uttar Pradesh policemen for custodial death of a 26-year-old man in 2006. The cops were accused of falsely implicating a man in a robbery case and for his custodial death. The court found them guilty for picking up Sonu, forging incorrect entries and torturing him to death.
Explaining one possible reason that could have led to this mishap, Additional Sessions judge Sanjeev Kumar Malhotra said that the cops were confident enough that falsifying the evidence would make them go free even if the accused dies in the custody.
The five held were Uttar Pradesh Police’s Sub Inspectors Hindveer Singh and Mahesh Mishra, Constables Pradeep, Pushpender and Haripal Singh. However, Senior Inspector Vinod Pandey was acquitted due to lack of evidence.
The court slapped charges under section 365 (abducting with intent secretly and wrongfully to confine person), 220 (confinement by person having authority who knows that he is acting contrary to law), 167 (public servant framing and incorrect document with intent to cause injury), 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder), 34 (criminal acts done by several persons with a common intention) of the IPC. The court will announce the sentence later this week.
The court has asked the Director General of Uttar Pradesh Police to take disciplinary action against Inspector Deepak Chaturvedi and constable Manoj Kumar, who were present on the day as Station Officer and GD writer respectively. They recorded wrong entries in the GD Register and helped with disappearance of evidence. The Supreme Court had transferred the case from a sessions court in Uttar Pradesh to a Delhi court as it noted that a fair trial in the state would not be possible.
The Sessions Court had earlier said, “It has been duly proved beyond reasonable doubt that the five accused policemen… in connivance with Kunwar Pal Singh (middleman) and in furtherance of their common intention abducted Sonu from his native village Hazrat Pur (in Uttar Pradesh) and maliciously confined him till he was declared dead knowingly that by confining him illegally they were acting contrary to law as they were apprehending his involvement in a robbery case without any evidence or reasonable suspicion against him.”
What had happened?
In Septemeber 2006, Kunwar Pal, a property dealer who worked with Sonu, came to his house with five police officials in civil dress. Pal told Sonu that these five men were interested in buying land and that Sonu must show them. When Sonu stepped into their car to show them the land, he was forcibly taken to the police station. According to a complaint lodged by Sonu’s father, he was taken into custody on the false implication of a robbery case. During the trial, the accused denied all the charges against them. Sonu’s medical report showed that bruise mark was found on his abdomen and elbow and abrasions on his knee and shoulder.
Custodial death is not new in country
It is a cruel irony that the people who are sworn-in to protect the law, end up breaking them. While custodial death is a horror in itself, the country has witnessed several of them lately. In 2018, a report was presented in Rajya Sabha by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs, titled ‘Torture Update India’. According to the report, 1,647 custodial deaths took place from April 2017 to February 2018. Based on this number, on an average, India registers 5 custodial death daily.
Though India is a signatory of the UN Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (UNCAT) 1997, it is yet to ratify it. Efforts to bring a law against torture have failed. The government has been urged by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to recognise torture as a separate crime and codify the punishment in a separate penal law. Giving credence to the need of the hour, Member of Parliament representing Arunachal East Ninong Ering had introduced the Prevention of Custodial Torture Bill to provide for punishment for torture, other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment inflicted by public servants, or any person with the consent of any public servant, on those in custody.
The Logical Indian condemns this act and urges people to not take law into their own hands. The courts in this country are present to punish the accused and the police in the country are bound to follow their orders. The police should protect the citizens and not endanger their lives.