Government today admitted that instances of custodial death in Maharashtra was “little more” in comparison to other states. “Custodial death in Maharashtra is a little more,” Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju said in Lok Sabha during Question Hour.
The Minister also submitted nationwide statistics of custodial deaths, according to which, there were 35 such deaths in Maharashtra in 2013, 21 in 2014, and 19 in 2015, which were highest among all states.
Rijiju said there were enough guidelines and directives issued by the National Human Rights Commission and the Supreme Court under which immediate action is taken against policemen responsible for custodial deaths.
BJP member Satyapal Singh, a former Commissioner of Mumbai Police, tried to counter Rijiju’s statistics saying that Maharashtra Police and Mumbai Police were the best police forces in the country, prompting hearty laughter from members.
With this, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan remarked “we will have to find out your records”, leading to another bout of laughter by the MPs.
Singh said all custodial deaths cannot be described as deaths under police custody, as many of them are deaths under judicial custody, some could be natural deaths or some could be death due to illness.
However, former Union Home Secretary R K Singh and former Director General Police of Jharkhand Police V D Ram, both BJP MPs, seemed to disagree with Satyapal Singh and wanted to speak.
But the Speaker disallowed them and moved to the next question.
R K Singh and Ram were seen gesturing towards Satyapal Singh suggesting that they would like to have a chat with him on the issue.