The Gujarat High Court has sought a report from the Rajkot police commissioner on the status of complaints filed by Paalbhai Ambalia, the president of farmers’ wing of Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee, alleging custodial torture after being arrested on the way to the collector’s office there to hand over agriculture produce as a contribution to the PM Cares Fund.
Ambalia had moved the court seeking contempt proceedings against the errant police officials. He also alleged that representations to the police authorities seeking action went unheeded.
The matter will be heard next on September 22.
The initiation of contempt proceedings have been sought primarily on the ground that earlier judgments have already laid down what qualifies as custodial torture and as well as on the ground that applications made to the Rajkot police commissioner’s office seeking action against the culprits, have been of no consequence.
The court’s order came after the petitioner’s lawyer, Anand Yagnik, presented facts of the incident and substantiating materials to back his claims of torture. As per the petitioner, on May 20, he went to Rajkot “to hand over agricultural produce for the said (PM Care Fund) which the present dispensation thought of as offending”.
He was again placed under arrest under section 151 of the IPC, and around 6:30 pm on the same day, a team of police personnel from the Special Operation Group (SOG) took him to the premises of the Rajkot police commissioner, where he was held against a tree, abused and thrashed on his buttocks and legs by deputy commissioner of police Jaydeepsinh Sarvaiya and police inspector at the commissioner’s office, Hitesh Gadhvi, the petitioner said.
Ambalia has alleged that neither the Pradyumna Nagar police station inspector nor the police commissioner took action on his complaints addressed to them on May 24 and May 26 respectively.
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