ASSAM CHIEF Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Friday ordered the suspension of the top brass of Darrang police, including Superintendent of Police Rajmohan Ray, over allegations of police negligence in a death case of a 13-year-old girl.
Additional SP Rupam Phukan and Dhula Police Station Officer in-charge were also suspended until further notice. The orders came after Sarma visited the girl’s family in Dhekiajuli on Friday.
“Visited the house of a 13-year-old girl, who died under mysterious circumstances, at Praja Pathar village in Dhekiajuli. Ordered an SIT probe into the matter & suspension of Darrang SP, Addl SP, and OC of Dhula PS for their alleged negligence in investigation into the case,” Sarma tweeted following the visit.
The 13-year-old was found dead on June 11, “hanging” at the home of one Krishna Kamal Baruah, an SSB jawan residing in Dhula, where she was employed as a domestic help.
“The family [of Baruah] alleged that she was found hanging. A newspaper report had claimed that the police did not want to register FIR. The police recorded it as a suicide and no further investigation was done,” Sarma told reporters, adding that he was “unhappy” with the way case was followed.
A statement from the Chief Minister’s Office said that Sarma was accompanied by Assam Director General of Police Bhaskar Jyoti Mahanta. “The Chief Minister interacted with the relatives of the deceased and inquired about the allegations they had labelled against Darrang police administration. It has been alleged that the police displayed extreme dereliction of duty in collecting of photographic and videographic evidence of the incident,” the statement said. “It has been further alleged that the Dhula Police Station Officer in-charge had put pressure on the family members of the deceased to not file a written complaint on the unnatural death.”
DGP Mahanta told The Indian Express that the district police had not followed “even the basics” while registering the case. “First it was registered it as an unnatural death case, then as a suicide. After the relatives of the girl lodged a complaint alleging murder, both husband [Baruah] and wife were sent to judicial custody. No custodial interrogation was done,” he said.
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A three-member Special Investigation Team (SIT) has been constituted to investigate the incident. Two of three members are women. “While the police registered the FIR, there were procedural loopholes,” said state minister Ashok Singhal. “The CM was not comfortable with the investigation … that is why he visited.”
On Friday, following the suspensions, the Assam government appointed Prasanta Saikia and Nirupam Hazarika as SP and Additional SP of Darrang, respectively.