16 Mumbai cops under scanner for torturing murder accused to death

Crime Branch in process of recording statements of the Samta Nagar police officials, under whose watch Akshay Kharade died

Two weeks after murder accused Akshay Kharade died while in the custody of Samta Nagar police, the Crime Branch Unit XI has intensified investigations into his death and the allegations of torture, and recorded statements of 16 police officials.

The CB has put the 16 cops under its scanner – including the on-duty police inspector (PI), police sub-inspector (PSI), detection staff and constables. Police sources said they began calling the suspected cops on Tuesday to record their statements and the work continued through Wednesday. The CB is recording the statements under IPC section 199.

Tortured to death
Representational pic

After his custodial death, family members of Akshay Kharade approached the Bombay High Court and filed a petition alleging that he was beaten to death by the cops. On Wednesday, the court directed CB to submit its report within two weeks, after establishing the role of duty officers and other staff.

“We have begun recording the statements and are waiting for the medical examination report including forensic report. Only after collecting the report we’ll come to know the exact cause of Kharade’s death,” CB sources said.

After Kharade died on April 22, the policemen sought to blame the event on various factors. “Kharade was a druggie. He did small jobs to eke out a living, and he was caught by some people for stealing a mobile phone and beaten up. After the incident, he stabbed one his attackers and fled from the scene,” cops said.

They further said that he had sustained injuries during the attack and, therefore, died in Borivli lock-up on Tuesday morning. “He was shivering, was restless and was unable to move,” an official said. “And after he came out of the toilet in the lock-up, he fainted. When officials saw him lying outside the bathroom, they rushed him to the hospital.”

Chain of events
On April 19, murder accused Akshay Kharade was arrested by the Crime Branch Unit XII for stabbing one Balkrishna Nikhare to death in Kandivli (East) two days before. On April 20, he was handed over to the Samta Nagar police.

After being produced in court, Kharade was remanded in police custody, but he fainted outside the toilet of Borivli lock-up on the morning of April 22, a day before his police custody was to get over. He was declared dead on arrival in Shatabdi Hospital.

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