August 9, 2021 7:04:41 pm
A Delhi court has directed the police to register an FIR and investigate the death of an under-trial prisoner inside Tihar jail complex.
Ankit Gujjar, 29, who had allegedly killed BJP leader Vijay Pandit outside his Dadri home in 2014, was found dead inside the Tihar jail complex on July 4. His mother had filed an application with the court seeking directions to the police to register an FIR.
His mother, Geeta, stated in her application that Ankit was assaulted by police officials during which he “sustained grievous injuries and no medical assistance is being rendered to her son”.
“That the deceased has been murdered by the proposed accused persons on account of the fact that he refused to pay a sum of Rs 1 lakh to the jail superintendent,” the application alleged.
Senior jail officials had earlier said allegations levelled by the family are being probed.
Metropolitan Magistrate Udita Jain said that it is for the police to investigate the matter, collect evidence and bring the culprit to book.
The police submitted an action taken report to the court, which stated that “the matter has been kept pending since inquest proceedings under section 176 CrPC have not been concluded”.
Inquest proceedings are conducted by a magistrate, who holds an enquiry into the cause of death which takes place under police custody.
“Pending inquest proceedings is no bar to registration of FIR as enquiry conducted during inquest is no substitute or alternative for investigation conducted pursuant to registration of FIR. The conclusion of inquest proceedings may take time, and till then, proper investigation in the matter by the investigating agency cannot be delayed,” the court said.
The court clarified that the “order does not tantamount to an opinion of the court that an offence has been committed”.
Following Ankit’s death, his father had alleged he had been beaten for not paying Tihar officials “protection money”. In a purported video shared by his father, an inmate of Tihar’s jail number 3, who was released recently, claimed that on August 3 the deputy superintendent had slapped Ankit following an argument between them over a mobile phone recovered from outside the deceased’s cell. He claimed that Ankit slapped him back. Later, he claimed, the official returned with 35 personnel and thrashed Gujjar for 30 minutes.
Two other inmates, Gurjeet Singh (22) and his brother Gurpreet Singh (22), also sustained injuries and were taken to DDU Hospital.
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