A 28-year-old youth arrested by the Warje police for a break-in died under mysterious circumstances in police custody early on Saturday morning.
The deceased,Amol Raghunath Kuchekar,28,was handed over to the police on Friday evening by citizens who had caught him committing a theft after breaking into one Mandar Pathaks flat in Tejovalay Society in Warje.
The state Criminal Investigation Department (CID) has initiated a probe to ascertain the cause of death. Police said they had admitted Kuchekar to Sassoon Hospital on Saturday morning after he started vomiting. He was,however,pronounced dead at the hospital. Kuchekars body has been sent for autopsy.
Senior police officers,including Additional Commissioner Prabhat Kumar,Deputy Commissioner (Zone I) Raghunath Khaire and Deputy Commissioner (Crime) Anil Kumbhare,rushed to Warje police station.
Khaire told the media that residents of Tejovalay Society had nabbed Kuchekar around 6 pm. They had thrashed him before handing him over to us, he said.
A police complaint was lodged against Kuchekar. A senior police officer said $285 and gold ornaments were recovered from him. He confessed about 15 thefts he had committed,including two more break-ins,in the same society. We also recovered some stolen articles from his house, the officer said.
The police said Kuchekar hailed from a good family. His father had retired from Cummins Company in Pune while his brother works in a private company in Orissa. Kuchekar had completed an ITI course about seven years ago and worked with a private firm for sometime. He had got married a year ago and was currently unemployed.
Kuchekars father Raghunath said he got a call from the police station around 8 pm on Friday. I was shocked to know that my son was arrested in a theft case and I went to the Warje police chowky. Around 6.30 pm on Saturday,the police called me to inform that they have admitted him to Sassoon Hospital, he said.
Meanwhile,Dalit leaders Rahul Dambale,Pramod Garad,Hanumant Sathe and Milind Kamble staged a protest at Sassoon Hospital,alleging that Kuchekar had died following police torture.