November 20, 2009 3:40:44 am
A 45-year-old woman from the Banjara ethnic group,who was detained by the Chatushringi police on Wednesday night for possession of illicit liquor,died in police custody under mysterious circumstances.
Police said Laxmibai Dhaku Dhanavat complained of chest pain while on way to the Chatushringi police station following which they rushed her to Aundh Hospital,where she was declared dead on arrival. The custodial death has been registered at the Chatushringi police station and investigations are on under Section 174 of the Criminal Procedure Code to establish the circumstances that led to her death,police said. The state Criminal Investigation Department (CID) will conduct the probe.
Laxmibais family and members of Banjara ethnic group gathered at the morgue of Sassoon Hospital,claiming that she died due to police harassment. Her body was brought at the morgue for post-mortem on Thursday.
We believe that Laxmibai died due to police harassment. We will not accept her body till the four policemen involved in her death are not arrested and suspended, said Revannath Rathod,Pune district secretary of Banjara Krantidal. Security at the hospital was stepped up to avoid any untoward incident.
According to the police,the night patrolling team received a tip-off about illegal sale of liquor under a tree on Lamantandga towards Pashan Road. Around 9.20 pm,the police team accompanied with two punch witnesses,raided the spot and nabbed Laxmibai for allegedly selling liquor illegally. Police said they recovered 10 litres of country made liquor and some prohibited material worth Rs 250 from Laxmibai.
The police detained her and took her to Chatushringi police station. As she stepped down from the police jeep,she complained of chest pain and headache. She was then taken to Aundh Hospital but was pronounced dead on arrival,police said. Deputy Commissioner of Police (Zone IV) Jalinder Supekar and other senior officers visited the Chatushringi police station to take note of the incident.
Deputy Superintendent of Police (CID) S A Mujavar said they have taken over all documents regarding the case like station diary,panchnama,seized liquor etc from the Chatushringi police.
We will record the statements of family members of the deceased. Further course of action will be decided after we get the post-mortem report, he said.
This is the second custodial death at Chatushringi police station. Earlier,23-year-old Uday Bhandge of Kasturba Vasahat,Aundh,died in police custody under suspicious circumstances in August 2004. Bhandge and his friend,Sachin Rajguru,were caught and handed over to Aundh police for stealing petrol from a car. The post-mortem report revealed that Bhandge died of multiple injuries. The policemen who were on night duty at Aundh chowky were booked for allegedly murdering Bhandge.
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