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Sunday, October 17, 2021

Murder case filed in UP hotel death, no arrests yet, wife writes to CM: ‘Ensure we get justice’

Police have claimed that Gupta died in a fall while they were searching the premises of Krishna Palace Hotel as part of a routine check. His wife Meenakshi submitted a complaint saying the policemen had misbehaved with Gupta and, when he objected, “he was assaulted, resulting in serious injuries and death”.

Written by Asad Rehman | Lucknow |
Updated: September 30, 2021 6:56:41 am
Meenakshi with her husband Manish Gupta’s body that was brought to their home in Kanpur on Wednesday. (Express Photo)

A murder FIR was lodged in the early hours of Wednesday against three named and three unidentified policemen in connection with the late-night raid at a Gorakhpur hotel that resulted in the death of a 38-year-old property dealer from Kanpur. All the policemen involved in the raid early on Tuesday have been suspended, though no arrests have been made so far.

A video recorded by Manish Gupta’s family shows them being persuaded by Gorakhpur SP Vipin Tada and District Magistrate Vijay Kiran Anand to not lodge a case, with the promise that the probe will be “unbiased”.

The family, that lives in Burra area of Kanpur, has refused to cremate Gupta’s body till their demands are met. Kanpur Police Commissioner Asim Arun said Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, who will be in Kanpur on a pre-scheduled visit, will meet the family Thursday. Gorakhpur is Adityanath’s pocketborough. The government has announced compensation of Rs 10 lakh for the family.

The FIR on Gupta’s death, lodged at Ramgarhtal Police Station in Gorakhpur under IPC Section 302 (murder), names (now suspended) Ramgarhtal SHO Jagat Narayan Singh and Sub-Inspectors Akshay Mishra and Vijay Yadav, apart from and three unidentified policemen. In a tweet close to midnight on Wednesday, the UP Police said what had happened was “unfortunate”, adding: “Policemen have been suspended & an FIR has been lodged against them under relevant sections. ADG/DIG/ SSP Gorakhpur have been directed to take action against the guilty after the investigation.”

Police have claimed that Gupta died in a fall while they were searching the premises of Krishna Palace Hotel as part of a routine check. His wife Meenakshi submitted a complaint saying the policemen had misbehaved with Gupta and, when he objected, “he was assaulted, resulting in serious injuries and death”.

Property dealer’s kin say he was assaulted.

SP Tada told The Indian Express the post-mortem report showed three injuries — on the right elbow, forehead, and an eyelid. “As per the report, the cause of death is coma. All injuries are superficial.”

Meenakshi said she had written a letter to the CM detailing her demands, including that the case be probed by the CBI, the trial be held in a fast-track court in Kanpur as they can’t travel to Gorakhpur frequently, and action be taken against the hotel where the death occurred. The letter says, “I live with my father-in-law, who is a senior citizen, along with my son who is five. I have no source of income. I request you to ensure that my family gets justice. I should be given a government job… We should be given compensation of Rs 50 lakh.”

Meenakshi’s brother Saurabh Gupta (40), a businessman, said: “Manish was a simple man, a trader in a range of products and properties. He had gone to Gorakhpur for work.”

Police Commissioner Arun claimed the family was reassured now, after officers had met them. “Their demands are genuine, that a fair probe be done… Their request for compensation and a job will be sent to the government… The incident is very tragic… We are with the family,” he told reporters, adding that decisions like transferring the case to Kanpur were not taken at his level.

In the video that went viral, of police trying to convince the family to not lodge a case, DM Anand can be heard saying: “I can assure you that the probe will be unbiased. Me and the SP sahab will ensure that. I request you as an elder brother… Once a case is lodged, it goes on for years to come.”

SP Tada adds: “They (the policemen) did not have any enmity (with Gupta, and the two friends with him). They went wearing police uniform.” He also says police have already “listened” to them and suspended the men. “They will not be reinstated till they get a clean chit.”

Meenakshi, who recorded the video, replies, “I don’t want their jobs. They should either be removed completely, or I want a life for a life.” The two officers then ask her to stop filming.

Meenakshi’s brother Saurabh, who was with her, said: “They told us to give them four-five days to conduct an internal inquiry. They said if the officers are found guilty, a case will be lodged.”

Neither SP Tada nor DM Anand could be reached for a comment on the video.

In another video that went viral, Meenakshi is seen crying at the hotel where the incident took place, and pleading: “My husband was murdered here, by a policeman. Please nyay dila deejiye. Aap dekhiye yahaan kahin khoon nahin hai. Aur woh khoon se lathpath thay. Do doston ne bhi bataya yahin par khoon bhara hua tha. Hotel waalon ne sab saaf karwa diya (Please give me justice. You see there is no blood here, while my husband was covered in blood. The two friends with him also said there was blood everywhere. The hotel people got it cleaned).”

Pradeep Kumar, 34, who runs an event management company in Gurgaon, and was with Gupta in the hotel room at the time of the incident, told The Indian Express, “I knew Manishji for around five years. He was a very kind and polite man.”

Opposition leaders visited Gupta’s home on Wednesday. Samajwadi Party president and former CM Akhilesh Yadav tweeted, “The life of a young businessman was taken away due to barbarity by police… The BJP government in UP has given birth to a culture of encounters. This is the result of that.”

Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra tweeted: “The state is under jungle raj and the condition is such that police is soft on criminals, while it behaves in barbaric manner with common people.”

In her tweet, BSP chief Mayawati pointed out that the incident had happened “in the home district of UP Chief Minister”.

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