A 38-year-old property dealer from Kanpur died after he was allegedly assaulted by policemen who entered his hotel room in Gorakhpur in the early hours of Tuesday claiming to be looking for criminals.
Six policemen, including the Station House Officer of Ramgarhtal police station, have been suspended though police are yet to lodge a case.
While police claimed that Gupta died after a fall in the hotel room, the victim’s wife submitted a complaint to the Gorakhpur Superintendent of Police alleging that policemen misbehaved with her husband and, when he objected to their behaviour, “he was assaulted, resulting in serious injuries and his death…”
In a statement, Gorakhpur SP Vipin Tada said, “During a check for criminals, police from Ramgarhtal police station went to a hotel. Three suspected youths from different cities were staying in one of the rooms. When the police team went there with the hotel manager, in panic, one of the men in the room fell and injured himself. After this, our men got him admitted to a hospital, where he was treated. He died during treatment at BRD Hospital. A panel of doctors will do a post-mortem. An investigation will be carried out to find out why the three men were here.”
Speaking to The Indian Express on Tuesday evening, Gupta’s wife Meenakshi said, “My husband had gone to Gorakhpur for some work. He booked a room in a hotel with two others who were meeting my husband on business. They later told me that my husband was beaten very badly by the policemen.”
“I too spoke to him and he said that he has to disconnect the call. He was in a state of panic. He then called my nephew and told him that police are torturing him and taking him to Ramgarhtal police station,” added Menakshi, who lived with Gupta and their four-year-old son Aviraj in Kanpur’s Barra area. Meenakshi said that despite her complaint, police were yet to lodge a case.
Speaking to reporters in Gorakhpur, Harveer Singh, 31, a resident of Mewat in Haryana, who was in the hotel room with Gupta, said, “Three of us –Manish Kumar Gupta, Pradeep Kumar and I were staying at Krishna Palace Hotel. Around 12.30 am, the doorbell rang and there were five-six policemen and the boy who worked at the hotel reception. They asked us for our IDs and Guptaji asked them why they wanted our IDs so late at night. They started checking my luggage and when I objected, they threatened to arrest me and started slapping me. They dragged me outside and near the lift, I saw them dragging Guptaji. He was bleeding from his mouth. We told them we had come to meet our friend Chandan Saini ji, who was with us 20 minutes before the policemen came. They took Chandan’s number from me and confirmed our version with him. Then, they took Gupta ji to some hospital where doctors told them he was serious.”
The other occupant of the room, Pradeep Kumar, 34, a resident of Sector 48 in Gurgaon, said that while the policemen were in the room, Gupta called his wife and a relative, informing them about what was happening. “The policemen then slapped Harveer and pushed him out of the room. Harveer heard a loud thud behind him and saw Manish lying on the floor, with blood oozing from his mouth. Police then took Manish to Mansi Hospital. Since he was critical, he was referred to BRD Medical College.” Kumar said he runs an event management business in Gurgaon.
Gorakhpur SP Tada said six policemen, including Inspector of Ramgarhtal police station Jagat Narayan Singh, have been suspended. “The suspensions were made in connection with the death. The whole incident will be probed by SP North (Manoj Kumar Awasti),” he said.
Gorakhpur (range) DIG J Ravinder Goud told The Indian Express, “A special drive to carry out checks in hotels, dhabas, etc. was on Monday night. At the (Krishna Palace) hotel, one of the men in the rooms collapsed and became unconscious. He was taken to the hospital, but he couldn’t survive. No case has been lodged in the matter yet. The preliminary statement of the hotel caretaker has been taken, and he said the same thing – that the man collapsed.”
Asking for a murder case to be lodged against the six policemen who “killed my husband”, Meenakshi said, “I want a fair investigation. I know the police can’t do that. All six policemen should be booked for murder. Who is going to raise my son? I appeal to Yogiji and Modiji to help us get justice,” she said.
Inputs from Pavneet Chadha, New Delhi
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