An auto rickshaw driver who was being questioned in a car theft case died in police custody at Lodhi Colony police station on Sunday. Delhi Police has suspended ASI Vijay Kumar and sent two constables, Rajender and Sandeep, to police lines in connection with the matter.
Police said the man, Dharambir Prajapati (50), allegedly jumped from the first floor and committed suicide. He was immediately rushed to AIIMS but died during treatment. The family, however, alleged that the man was tortured. The cause of death has not been ascertained and a post-mortem report is awaited.
Police also said the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate was informed about the incident.Police said the ASI was suspended over lack of supervision. The two constables who brought Dharambir to the police station have also been sent to police lines pending enquiry.
According to police, Dharambir, who lived in Najafgarh with his family, was being interrogated by the ASI after a car was stolen from Lodhi Colony on Thursday. Police said CCTV footage near the spot of the theft revealed that the suspected car thieves reached Lodhi Colony in an autorickshaw.
“The autorickshaw was found to be registered in the name of Dharambir’s son, but he had rented out the vehicle. He told us that two men, Ghewar and Satish, were driving the auto. We arrested them in the case. The men told us they had given the auto to someone else,” DCP (South) Atul Kumar Thakur said.
On Saturday, ASI Kumar again interrogated Dharambir on the first floor of the police station around midnight. “At 2.45 am (Sunday), he went to the washroom, leaving the man alone in the room. When he came back, he didn’t find Dharambir inside. He was found lying on the floor in the central courtyard of the police station,” said DCP Thakur.
The family was informed about the death in the morning. They went to the police station and were told to go to AIIMS as Dharambir had sustained injuries to his leg and head.
On Sunday afternoon, Dharambir’s family and a few locals protested outside AIIMS, alleging he was thrashed by the policemen, who also asked for a bribe of Rs 50,000. Police tried to remove the protesters, who left after the body was returned to them.
Saurav (24), Dharambir’s son, alleged, “They came to our house on Saturday around 11 am and showed us a photo of our auto rickshaw. We told them we bought it a year ago but gave it to someone else to drive. They then took my father to the police station. We tried to contact him but his phone was switched off. At 7 pm, he called me and said the policemen were torturing him and asking for Rs 50,000. They tortured him for more than 12 hours.”
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines