A 24-year-old man, who was arrested by the Railway Police in Wadala in a chain-snatching case, died while in their custody on Friday morning.
While the man’s father alleged that his son had been tortured, the railway police said he was hit by a train while trying to flee from their custody.
According to police sources, the deceased has been identified as Agnelo Valdaris (24), a resident of Reay Road who used to work as a driver and was also doing a correspondence course in Bachelor of Commerce.
Agnelo’s father Leonard said the Wadala railway police picked him up on April 15 from his grandmother’s house in Dharavi, saying he was wanted in a chain-snatching case, and that he had been in their custody since then. However, he was not produced in court for the next three days, Leonard alleged.
“I finally went to the police station on Thursday and they took me to the Sion Hospital, saying he had sustained some injuries and was being treated. When I reached the hospital, the police told me to sign a false statement saying that Agnelo had inflicted injuries on himself. For the sake of my son’s well-being, I agreed and signed the statement. On Friday, I went back to the hospital and was told that he is no more. I spoke to three others who were also arrested by the Wadala railway police on the same day. They told me he had been severely beaten in the lock-up,” Leonard alleged, adding that he planned to approach the Bombay High Court against the Wadala railway police.
The police, on their part, have a completely different version. They claimed Agnelo was only arrested on Thursday and was taken to the hospital as a matter of procedure.
“On Friday, he was being taken to the hospital for another routine check-up when he wrenched himself free of and started running. He was hit by a train and was dragged for around 15 metres before the train stopped, and later died in the hospital. We have enough eyewitnesses, including the motorman of the train and some workers who were repairing the tracks, to back our claim,” said Assistant Commissioner of Police M D Pawar, Kalyan division, who is currently holding additional charge of the Harbour division.
“There will nevertheless be an inquiry into the incident by the state Criminal Investigation Department as it needs to be found out how an accused in custody managed to break free of the clutches of the personnel escorting him. All aspects will be probed,” he added.