Investigation Report Into The Custodial Torture Of Raju, A Poor Helper By Chandigarh Police On September 29, 2002

The Chandigarh Newsline, Indian Express, Chandigarh dated October 8,2002 published a news item titled, “COPS BEAT MY SON TO DEATH” in which gory details of illegal custody and third degree torture of Raju

and four other poor workers by Chandigarh Police on September 29, 2002 due to which Raju succumbed to his injuries on October 6, 2002. On reading this news item, Lawyers For Human Rights International took initiative and an investigation team was formed to investigate into the matter. The team comprised of Mr.Tejinder Singh Sudan, President, Chandigarh unit, Mr.Mohinder Singh, Mr.Davinder Singh and Mr.Ravinder Minhas. The team conducted its investigation from October 9,2002 till October 12, 2002.

NAME AND ADDRESSES OF VICTIMS:-

1. Raju, son of Dharam Pal, aged 20 years, bachelor, temporary resident of S.C.F. No.6, 2 Bays, Sector 20-C, Chandigarh.(Deceased)

2. Lal Yadav, son of Ram Adhar Yadav, aged around 20-21 years, temporary resident of S.C.F. No.6, 2 Bays, Sector 20-C, Chandigarh.( torture victim).

3. Naresh, son of Jagir Singh, aged around 23 years, temporary resident of S.C.F. No.6, 2 Bays, Sector 20-C, Chandigarh.(torture victim)

4. Vinod Sharma, son of Dinesh Sharma, aged unknown, resident of H.No.1467, Sector 20-B, Chandigarh.(torture victim).

5. Raju Yadav, son of Ram Pher, aged 16 years, resident of village Attawa, U.T.Chandigarh, permanent resident of village Arjanpura, Distt.Sultanpur, U.P.( torture victim).

 

PERSONS WHOM WE MET:

1. Naresh, son of Jagir Singh

2. Raju Yadav, son of Ram Pher

3. Lal Yadav, son of Ram Adher Yadav

4. Dharam Pal, father of Raju(deceased)

5. Inspector Jagbir Singh( on telephone)

6. Amrik Singh (name changed to conceal his identity)and other shopkeepers and neighbors of S.C.F. 6, Sector 20-C, Chandigarh

 

FACTS:

Raju(deceased), son of Dharam Pal, aged 20 years, was working as helper in a private canteen in M.C.M.D.A.V. College, Sector 36, Chandigarh till September 29, 2002. He was temporarily living alongwith his friends, namely Lal Yadav, Naresh, Vinod Sharma and others in S.C.F. No.6, 2 Bays, Sector 20-C, Chandigarh. His father being poor man was also staying in the market of Sector 20-C, Chandigarh and is working in a Dhaba in Sector 20-C, Chandigarh. The deceased belonged to a poor family. On September 26, 2002, Raju Yadav, son of Ram Pher, aged 16 years, of village Attawa, U.T. Chandigarh was picked up by Sub-Inspector Ram Kumar and one turbaned Sub-Inspector alongwith other policemen of Crime Branch Operations(CBO Cell) from a road near Sector 42, Chandigarh and took him to CBO Cell, Sector 26, Chandigarh.. Thereafter on September 29, 2002, Raju(deceased), Naresh, son of Jagir Singh,Lal Yadav, son of Ram Adher Yadav and Vinod Sharma, son of Dinesh Sharma, were picked up by Sub-Inspector Baljit Singh alias Delhiwala, Sub-Inspector Ram Kumar alias Pandit( in civil clothes), one uniformed turbaned Sub-Inspector and other policemen in uniform from CBO Cell, Sector 26, Chandigarh at 4.45 a.m. from SCF No.6, (first floor back side) 2 Bays, Sector 20-C, Chandigarh on the suspicion of theft committed in “YOUR CLOTH HOUSE”,SCF No.6, 2 Bays, Sector 20-C, Chandigarh and were taken to CBO Cell, Sector 26, Chandigarh in official Police vehicle. In the police station, Lal Yadav, was kept outside while Vinod, Raju(deceased) and Naresh were put in a room. Lal Yadav was beaten outside the room while Raju(deceased), Naresh and Vinod Sharma were stripped and badly tortured by Sub-Inspector Baljit Singh, Sub-Inspector Ram Kumar, one turbaned Sub-Inspector and other policemen for continuously three hours at about 5 a.m. till 8 a.m. After beating them, all of them were forced to clean the police station. In the evening at about 8 p.m. Lal Yadav and Raju(deceased) were dropped in a scooter by Sub-Inspector Baljit Singh(Delhiwala) in the market of Sector 20-C, Chandigarh. At that time, the condition of Raju(deceased) was serious and he was suffering from acute pain in his stomach and other body parts. His father being a poor man did not care to get his proper medical treatement for five days and on October 6, 2002 when his condition deteriorated, his father took him to GMCH, Sector 32, Chandigarh where he became psychotic out of fear. He later on succumbed to his injuries at about 11.40 p.m. on October 6, 2002. His dead body was handed over to his father without conducting autopsy on the request of his father.

WITNESSES STATEMENTS:

1. Amrik Singh(name changed and address concealed), told us that Raju(deceased), Vinod Sharma, Lal Yadav and Naresh were picked up by police personnel on September 29, 2002 at about 4.45 a.m. from SCF 6(First Floor back side), 2 bays, Sector 20-C, Chandigarh in police vehicle.

2. Lal Yadav(tortured victim) told us that he was picked up by the police personnel mentioned above at about 4.45 a.m. on September 29, 2002 from SCF 6(first floor back side), 2 bays, Sector 20-C, Chandigarh alongwith Naresh, Vinod and Raju (deceased) and bundled into a police vehicle and taken to CBO Cell, Sector 26, Chandigarh. Nobody from his family or next friend was informed about the detention. In the police station, all of them were given fist and kick blows .Thereafter, he was made to sit outside the room and others were taken inside a room. He was badly beaten by giving fist blows and kicks by some policemen of the police station. After some time, he was forced to clean the police station and was dropped alongwith Raju(deceased) on a two wheeler scooter by Sub-Inspector Baljit Singh Delhiwala, near the market of Sector 20-C, Chandigarh the same day at about 8 p.m. He also disclosed that when he and Raju(deceased) was normal when they were picked up but his condition was not well when they were dropped by S.I. Baljit Singh. He also said that Raju had complained of pain in stomach and other body parts, for which his father gave him some pain killer tablets in the night, but his condition did not improve till October 6, 2002.

3. Naresh(torture victim) also gave a similar statement and told us that he alongwith Raju(deceased), Vinod and Lal Yadav were picked up by the police personnel mentioned above at about 4.45 a.m. on September 29, 2002 from SCF 6(first floor back side), 2 bays, Sector 20-C, Chandigarh and bundled into a police vehicle and taken to CBO Cell, Sector 26, Chandigarh. Nobody was informed about his detention or arrest in the case. In the police station, all of them were given fist and kick blows .Thereafter, Lal Yadav was made to sit outside the room and he and others were taken inside a room. He, Raju and Vinod Sharma,were stripped and subjected to third degree torture with wooden sticks and by giving fist blows and kicks by Sub-Inspector Baljit Singh, Sub-Inspector Ram Kumar, an unidentified turbaned Sub-Inspector and some other policemen of the police station for continuously three hours. The policemen were asking about a theft of Rupees twenty seven thousand, a pistol and four live cartridges from SCF 6, Sector 20-C, Chandigarh and he was being extorted to confess that he helped Raju Yadav in the commission of the theft by giving screw driver and hammer to Raju Yadav and others. After 8 a.m. they were forced to clean the police station and he was later on detained in the police station till next day,i.e. Septemebr 30, 2002. At 2 pm. On September 30, 2002, he was produced before the Ilaqqa Magistrate, Chandigarh and he was sent to three day police remand. After the completion of the police remand, he was sent to judicial custody and released on bail by the court.

4. Raju Yadav(torture victim) was interviewed in Model Jail, Burail U.T.Chandigarh during which he disclosed that when he was going from his house in village Attawa,U.T.Chandigarh towards Sector 42,Chandigarh, he was picked up by some policemen including Sub-Inspector Ram Kumar and one turbaned Sub-Inspector and others and was taken to CBO Cell, Sector 26, Chandigarh on September 26, 2002. He was illegally detained there for three days without informing any of his relative or next friend about his detention. He was given extensive third degree torture by Sub-Inspector Baljit Singh Delhiwala, Sub-Inspector Ram Kumar, turbaned Sub-Inspector and other policemen. Big iron pipes were put between his legs and heavy pressure was put on the legs which gave him immense pain. Iron roller(Ghotna) was applied on his thighs. One policemen even brought his service revolver and threatened him of life and extorted him to confess his involvement in the theft cases including one of stealing a Kinetic Honda. Blows of wooden sticks were also given on the delicate part of the feet. At about 5 a.m. on September 29, 2002, Sub-Inspector Baljit Singh, Sub-Inspector Ram Kumar alongwith other policemen brought four boys to the police station. In his presence, the above policemen mercilessly beat the boys amid loud cries. One policeman even gave strong fist blows on the forehead of Raju(deceased) and due to acute pain, Raju cried loudly. During the day, the owner of YOUR CLOTH HOUSE, Sector 20-C, Chandigarh and another shopkeeper, namely Mr.Sawhney had come to the Police Station and all the four boys were again beaten in their presence. At about 8 p.m. the same day, Raju(deceased) and Lal Yadav were taken outside the police station. He thereafter, told that he was produced before the Judicial Magistrate, U.T. Chandigarh and was remanded to police custody for seven days. Later on, he was remanded to judicial custody and is at present lodged in Model Jail, Burail, U.T. Chandigarh. He also said that he was not provided with any Legal Aid counsel by the police.

5. Dharam Pal, father of Raju(deceased) was contacted with great difficulty, because he was being pressurized by the policemen and the influential shopkeepers of the market in Sector 20-C, Chandigarh. During the interview, he refused to talk with the team about the death of his son and said that his son could not be brought back to life now. After much reluctance, he told us that his son had died due to pain in his stomach and did not suspect foul play. He even refused to accept that his son was ever picked up by the police. (His behavior was doubtful as if he was feeling afraid of someone. He is very poor person and works and stays outside the shops in the market of Sector 20, Chandigarh.)

6. Inspector Jagbir Singh, Incharge CBO Cell, Sector 26, Chandigarh, was contacted by the team on telephone. On being asked direct question as to whether Raju(deceased) was actually picked up by Sub-Inspector Baljit Singh Delhiwala, Sub-Inspector Ram Kumar, turbaned Sub-Inspector and other policemen, he flately denied this allegation. He however, said that Raju(deceased) was called to the CBO Cell to ask about one Ajay Kumar(who is at present absconding) and was let off after sometime. He also said that Ajay Kumar and Raju(deceased) were involved in a stabbing case registered earlier and the police wanted to get the whereabouts of Ajay Kumar from Raju(deceased). Ajay Kumar was reportedly absconding after jumping bail from the court. He denied that Raju(deceased) and other three boys named above were ever picked up by Sub-Inspector Baljit Singh Delhiwala, Sub-Inspector Ram Kumar, turbaned Sub-Inspector and other policemen and tortured in CBO Cell, Sector 26, Chandigarh.

 

POLICE VERSION:

According to the police, no F.I.R. has been registered in the matter of death of Raju(deceased) because it was a natural death and was not a police case.

FINDINGS:

After examining the above witnesses and viewing the circumstances arising in the present case, the team arrived at the following findings:-

1. It can be easily concluded that Raju (deceased) had actually been picked up and badly tortured during his 15 hour illegal detention at CBO Cell, Sector 26, Chandigarh by Sub-Inspector Baljit Singh Delhiwala, Sub-Inspector Ram Kumar, turbaned Sub-Inspector and other policemen and his death was caused due to the inhuman treatment meted out to him by the Chandigarh Police. There is sufficient evidence to hold that when he was taken to CBO Cell, he was hale and hearty and his condition was not good when he was dropped by Sub-Inspector Baljit Singh Delhiwala, on his two-wheeler scooter alongiwth Lal Yadav the same evening near the market of Sector 20, Chandigarh.

2. The policemen of Chandigarh Police have flouted with impunity the guidelines laid down by Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in, D.K. BASU vs. STATE OF WEST BENGAL,reported in AIR 1997 SC 610 by not following the procedure while arresting the above persons and also violated the order of Hon’ble Punjab & Haryana High Court in, VANEETA GUPTA Vs. STATE OF PUNJAB AND OTHERS, in which it was ordered that no instruments of torture should be kept in any police station or place of detention in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh.

3. Ironically, the Chandigarh Police has left no stone unturned to cover-up the entire case and shielded its officers, particularly Sub-Inspector Baljit Singh Delhiwala, Sub-Inspector Ram Kumar and other policemen which is highly condemnable It may be pertinent to mention here that Sub-Inspector Baljit Singh Delhiwala, is a tainted police officer and had earlier been dismissed from service by the then Inspector General of Police, U.T. Chandigarh.

4. The father of the deceased has been pressurized by the policemen and influential shopkeepers of market of Sector 20, Chandigarh, not to highlight the incident.

5. Besides, torturing Raju(deceased) and others, Chandigarh Police is guilty of keeping another juvinile, Raju Yadav, son of Ram Pher in illegal custody for three days and subjecting him to third degree treatment and falsely recorded his age as 19 years, instead of his actual reported age as 16 years.

6. No legal aid was provided to the victim Raju Yadav by the police and no legal aid counsel was provided to him during his production in the court.

7. The role of market Pradhans(heads) and other persons having acquaintance with the Chandigarh Police is also condemnable. Some shopkeepers who had proximity with the policemen has been pressurizing the father of the deceased and other witnesses for keeping silence on the incident. Instead of helping the poor victim, these persons played the role of touts of policemen and pressurized the witnesses to hush up the matter.

 

RECOMMENDATIONS:

1. In order to prevent the re-occurrence of custodial crime in the police stations in Chandigarh and cover up exercise undertaken by the delinquent police officers, it would be in the fitness of things if Sub-Inspector Baljit Singh Delhiwala, Sub-Inspector Ram Kumar, turbaned Sub-Inspector and other policemen who took the law into their hands and tortured the victims should be punished for offences under Section 342, 330, 511,199 and other sections of Indian Penal Code and Section 29 of The Police Act, 1861. Departmental action should be taken against them. Inspector Jagbir Singh, being the incharge of CBO Cell, Sector 26, Chandigarh where the present incident had occurred, is equally liable for the acts of omission and commission of his subordinates and should be immediately sent to police lines.

2. Since Raju(deceased) was a earning hand to his father, Dharam Pal in his old age, adequate interim compensation should be paid by the Chandigarh police to Sh.Dharam Pal.

3. Raju Yadav who is a juvenile should be sent to juvenile home and tried in accordance with the provision of Juvenile Justice Act.

4. A team comprising of senior officials of Chandigarh Police, human rights activists and representatives of ChandigarhAdministration should be formed to ensure the guidelines laid down by Hon’ble Supreme Court of India and Punjab & Haryana High Court that no instrument of torture is kept in any police station, CIA staff or place of detention in Chandigarh and nobody should be subjected to third degree torture while in police custody.

 

ACTION TAKEN BY LHRI

Our organisation sent the copies of the above report to the concerned police and civil authorities, besides releasing it to the press. But no action has been taken by any authority.

 

Chandigarh

October 13, 2002