Crime Branch to probe role of cops in man's custodial death

The police commissioner has ordered a Crime Branch enquiry into the death of an alleged robber in Malwani police custody on March 5. The Malwani police had arrested the owner of a dye manufacturing factory and six of his associates for allegedly lynching the 23-year-old robber while he was trying to enter the factory premises late at night on March 4. The accused was found dead in the lock-up the next morning. MiD DAY had reported the incident on March 6, 2013 (‘After robber dies in lock-up, police book locals for lynching’).

Seeking answers: Azad Ali, father of the deceased, with his family at his son Hasmi’s (inset) workplace

The police officers had then identified the deceased as one Javed Hyder Ali. They had arrested six men — factory owners Amarjeet Singh and brother Vijay along with their associates — on the charge of murder under section 302 of the Indian Penal Code.  According to the police, after beating up the suspected robber for trespassing, the accused men had turned him over to the police, who had placed him under arrest in a lock-up. At 9 the next morning on March 5, when the police officers tried waking him to take him for a medical examination, they realised he was numb. The officers then rushed him to the Bhagwati Hospital where he was declared dead.

Eyewitnesses, however, claimed that after being arrested, he was beaten up by police officials in the lock-up. Meanwhile, someone told the deceased’s family that their son was found dead by the cops.  The deceased’s father Azad Ali said, “I went to Malwani police station to inquire about my son. The cops told me they didn’t have any information on any Hasmi but there was a guy beaten to death by the public who had been identified as Javed Ali. They said his body had been taken to Bhagwati Hospital.”

After meeting the cops, Azad rushed to the hospital and saw that the body was his son Riyaz Hasmi’s. The family claims the police withheld his identity from them to hush up the matter. Azad said they had last seen Hasmi, who was a tailor, set out to go to work on March 4 and the next day someone told them he had been murdered.

“I don’t know who killed my son but I want a proper police investigation so the culprits can be punished,” said Azad Ali. The case has been handed over to the crime branch (unit XI) for reinvestigating the role of Malwani police officers and establishing the chronology of events from the deceased’s arrest to death. Sources in the crime branch said the Malwani police hurriedly released everyone in the lock-up the night Hasmiwas brought in.  Officers are now trying to locate and question the others lodged in the lock-up that night to find out what happened.  

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