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Saturday, February 22, 2020

2017 custodial death: Anticipatory bail pleas of four Ludhiana policemen dismissed

The case is related to the death of a woman in custody at Dugri police station of Ludhiana city in 2017.

By: Express News Service | Ludhiana | Published: February 14, 2020 12:54:42 pm
Ludhiana court, Punjab and Haryana High Court, Custodial death of woman in 2017, Custodial death of woman in ludhiana, Dugri police station, punjab news, indian express Police claimed Ramandeep had hanged herself with her dupatta in the washroom

The Ludhiana court of additional district and sessions judge Atul Kasana on Thursday dismissed the anticipatory bail applications of four policemen booked in connection with the death of a woman in custody at Dugri police station of Ludhiana city in 2017.

“The anticipatory bail applications filed by sub-inspector Dalbir Singh (the then SHO of Dugri police station), ASI Sukhdev Singh (officer on duty at time of incident) and constables Rajwinder Kaur and Amandeep Kaur were dismissed by the court. These four policemen booked for non-bailable offences are still on duty in Punjab Police and evading arrest. All four have accepted in court during arguments that they are on duty…,” said advocate Gurpreet Singh Saini, counsel for the complainant Mukul Garg, whose wife Ramandeep Kaur alias Alisha Sharma (29) died in police custody at Dugri police station on August 5, 2017.

Mukul and Ramandeep were arrested on August 4, 2017, for alleged ATM data theft and cloning under sections 379, 420, 465, 467, 468, 471, 201 and 120-B of IPC at Dugri police station. At around 6 am next day, Ramandeep was found dead in police custody. Ludhiana police claimed that she had hanged herself with her dupatta in the washroom.

Mukul then moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court, demanding a CBI probe in the case and alleged that he and his wife were tortured in police custody and that there were injuries on her body. A Special Investigation Team (SIT) led by IPS Neerja, then posted as IG Ropar range, probed the case on High Court orders and found that four cops were negligent while on duty, due to which the woman was able to commit suicide.

The SIT probe said that two woman constables failed to take away the dupatta from Ramandeep, and did not accompany her to the washroom, nor stop her from locking the washroom door from the inside.

An FIR was lodged against the four policemen under the section 304-A (causing death due to negligence) two years later on June 13, 2019, after the SIT probe. However, the probe continued and in an affidavit submitted by ACP (South) Jashandeep Singh Gill in the High Court dated December 3, 2019, he informed the court that it was also found that Dugri police also “forged and fabricated” signatures of Ramandeep on the arrest memo and they did not match with her original signatures as per the report from the Forensic Science Laboratory, Mohali. Hence, more sections — 465 (forgery), 468 (forgery for purpose of cheating) and 471 (using as genuine a forged document) — were added to the FIR against four policemen. “The sections 468 and 471 of IPC are non-bailable,” said advocate Saini.

“Even after non-bailable sections were added to the FIR, the four policemen have not been arrested and continue to work in Punjab police,” he added. “According to their affidavits attached with bail applications, all four policemen are still on duty and they have even tried to threaten Mukul Garg, pressing him to withdraw the case and agree for a settlement. SI Dalbir Singh is currently posted as an SHO with Jalandhar Rural Police and constable Rajwinder Kaur is posted at SSP office Khanna. The court has dismissed bail applications of all four today and onus is now on police to arrest them,” the lawyer said.

Meanwhile, ACP (South) Jashandeep Singh Gill in his affidavit also told High Court that Mukul Garg has been booked in 11 more FIRs for alleged ATM theft. He said, “I am unaware of other details of the case and action taken against the four policemen because I joined as ACP (South) later. I will find it out…”

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