In the suicide note he left behind, Jagdalpur city SP Devnarayan Patel said his department had humiliated him on the word of a drunken judge, without giving him a chance to tell his side of the story.
The officer shot his wife dead before turning his weapon on himself early on Tuesday. The couple’s 11-year-old daughter, who was hit by a bullet that ricocheted off a wall, is paralysed waist downward, and may never walk again, doctors said.
“I have been working loyally for my state and department, but based on false claims made by a drunkard against me, I have been humiliated and suspended without a proper probe. I have never compromised with my job but was not given the chance to put forth my side of the story. It is very disappointing and hence, I am going with my family,” Patel said in his suicide note.
Additional District Judge A Toppo, on whose complaint Patel was suspended on Monday, was on Wednesday transferred to Bilaspur following a visit to Jagdalpur by the registrar of Chhattisgarh High Court. The police officer had an altercation with the judge after allegedly catching him driving drunk in Jagdalpur on Sunday.
Patel and his wife Pratima were cremated on the same pyre at the officer’s native village of Manikchouri in Bilaspur district on Wednesday.
Dr S N Manderia of Raipur’s Ramakrishna Hospital, where the Patels’ daughter Poonam and son Aryan have been admitted, told The Indian Express that Poonam had developed paraplegia as a result of the bullet hitting her spine.
“She is paralysed. We can see some foreign particles in her body. Her lungs too are damaged. She is running a high fever. It is difficult to gauge the extent of her injury unless we are able to do an MRI scan. But even if she does survive, she may not be able to walk again,” Dr Manderia said.
Aryan, who too took a ricocheting bullet, has suffered an abdominal injury which could be fatal. “He needs to be under constant watch,” the doctor said.
Jagdalpur superintendent of police Ajay Yadav, who is overseeing the investigation, said the preliminary evidence showed Patel was deeply frustrated over what he believed was his arbitrary suspension. “He was a gallantry medal winner for his anti-Maoist operations in Narayanpur last year. He was doing good work in Jagdalpur. He acted on an impulse. We are trying to establish the facts,” Yadav said.
An additional district magistrate and the IG (Scheduled Caste Welfare) are probing the case separately.
Officers in Jagdalpur alleged the judge was indeed drunk when Patel confronted him on Sunday. He had parked his vehicle wrongly, and the police had objected. Patel, who had just finished a raid at a local hotel, had been told, and the city SP had walked up to Toppo, the officers said.
“A constable told Patel that a man in a car was misbehaving with police. Patel went to the car and found a drunk man inside. An altercation ensued, and when Patel discovered that the man was judge Toppo, he informed the chief judicial magistrate of Jagdalpur,” an officer said.