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Tuesday, July 27, 2021

No proper investigation by Delhi police, HC directs CBI to probe custodial death inside Tihar

Srikant alias Appu, who was in the jail since June 13, 2019, was declared dead at a hospital on May 14. He had been shifted to the hospital after complaining of pain. He had been “assaulted with cricket bats” by four inmates earlier, Jail official said.

Written by Sofi Ahsan | New Delhi |
Updated: July 23, 2021 8:35:46 am
Observing that it has been two months since the FIR in question was registered, the court said, “From the status report, it is apparent that the investigation based on the mobile phone number as noted in the PCR still appears to be incomplete”. (File)

PULLING UP Delhi Police for not carrying out proper investigation into an inmate’s murder inside Tihar Jail, the Delhi High Court has transferred the probe to Central Bureau of Investigation and asked it to file a status report before September 29.

Srikant alias Appu, who was in the jail since June 13, 2019, was declared dead at a hospital on May 14. He had been shifted to the hospital after complaining of pain. He had been “assaulted with cricket bats” by four inmates earlier, Jail official said. However, Srikant’s mother in a petition before the court submitted that there were deep cut wounds on his thighs and hands which could not be caused due to the simple cricket bats.

Justice Mukta Gupta in an order said, “Considering the fact that as per status report filed by the Superintendent Jail, there was no apparent injury on the deceased, however, the case of the petitioner is that there were deep injury marks on the deceased and an in depth investigation is required to be conducted to find out the circumstances under which the deceased made a phone call to his sister expressing his apprehension of death and his subsequent death in the judicial custody, this Court finds it fit to transfer the investigation of the case FIR in question to CBI”.

The court in the order has also noted DGP (Prisons)’s submission that most of the old CCTVs installed in Tihar Jail have become non-functional and a “mega plan of installation of the CCTVs is underway”. Out of 6967 CCTVs, more than a half are functional and rest would be made functional by August 15, the court was told.

“It is thus evident that no CCTV footage of the incident is available. However, the prime issue which now concerns this Court besides the manner in which the death of the inmate has been caused, is, why no proper investigation could be carried out despite the fact that a PCR call was made from a phone number from the jail and the said phone number is duly recorded in the PCR Call,” said the court.

It further noted that a PCR call had been received from the jail about Srikant’s death and the owner of the mobile number has stated that she had lost her mobile phone. She, the court further noted, has stated that she does not know Srikant and none of her acquaintances was lodged in Tihar Jail.

Observing that it has been two months since the FIR in question was registered, the court said, “From the status report, it is apparent that the investigation based on the mobile phone number as noted in the PCR still appears to be incomplete”.

It further said that the claim of the victim’s sister was that she received a phone call from the deceased himself a day prior to the incident from the jail, informing her that he would be murdered, however, there is no investigation on the said point.

“Nor has the mobile of the sister been taken nor have the call records been analysed which would have revealed something nor has any investigation been carried out from the call records of the mobile number from which PCR call was made,” it added.

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