A probe has been launched against Telangana police personnel after a 40-year-old jeweller in their custody in a theft-related case fell to his death suspiciously from the terrace of a government guesthouse in Nashik. The state Criminal Investigation Department is probing the matter after the kin of the deceased alleged that Telangana police officials had demanded money from them.
Nashik’s jewellers observed a bandh on Monday in protest against Vijay Birari’s death and the Nashik police’s decision to register a case of accidental death.
“Since the time my uncle was detained, the Telangana police had been demanding money from us. They initially placed a demand of Rs 50 lakh, later they contacted us asking for Rs 80 lakh. As we did not show any keenness in paying them, they called us again and asked to settle for Rs 30 lakh. As we refused to pay, they threw my uncle from the third floor of the guesthouse and killed him,” his nephew Ankush alleged.
The Cyberabad police said that Birari’s name cropped up in an investigation into one house breaker identified as Santosh Shinde. He is involved in burglaries since 1990s and in his confession he said that he had disposed two kilograms of gold with Birari following which a team was sent to arrest the jeweller.
The family further alleged that on Monday while Vijay Birari was sitting in his jewellery shop, Telangana police arrived in four cars. They ransacked the shop following which they took Birari along with the valuables and cash from the shop.
“My uncle was taken to Panchavati police station and after we were informed about his detention, we went there. The police officials including senior police inspector Ashok Bhagat misbehaved with our family members. They even abused us,” Ankush said.
The Telangana police then took Birari to a guesthouse at Mumbai Nashik highway, from where he allegedly fell to his death.
The police claimed that during the time of interrogation at the guesthouse, the jeweller took permission to drink a glass of water, when he allegedly leaped to his death. The Mumbai Naka police have registered a case of accidental death report while police are investigating if foul play led to his death.
Police inspector Vijay Dhamal of Mumbai Naka police station said, “We have registered the case and as it is a matter of custodial death, the case papers have been handed over to the state CID who will now conduct an investigation and as per their finding, decision shall be taken.”
State CID chief Atulchandra Kulkarni said, “It is by default that the investigation will be handed over to us. We will look in all the aspects in the case.”
When contacted senior inspector of Panchavati police station Ashok Bhagat said, “We did not misbehave with them. As the Telangana police came to us to inform about his arrest, they brought him to the police station following which they took him within five minutes. I did not even see his family members.”
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