March 27, 2021 4:49:59 pm
Three head constables of Mundra police station, on the run since two custodial deaths in January this year, were nabbed and sent to nine-day police remand on Saturday. According to the police, the constables are the prime accused in the custodial deaths of two casual labourers from Samghogha village in Kutch district’s Mundra taluka. The two labourers, Arjan Gadhvi (27) and Hajog Gadhvi (26), were picked up for a house break-in.
Officers of Kutch (west) police said Shaktisinh Gohil, Ashok Kannad and Jaydevsinh Jhala were nabbed by a team of the Local Crime Branch (LCB) from Bhavnagar Thursday morning and brought to Kutch on Friday. “The accused were formally arrested on Friday. We produced them in a court in Mundra on Saturday and with an application seeking their remand for 14 days. However, the court granted us the custody of the accused for nine days,” Jayesh Panchal, Deputy Superintendent of Police (DySP) of Bhuj division of the Kutch (west) police, told The Indian Express on Saturday.
A team of the LCB conducted a raid at Hotel Meriton near Nari Chowkadi on the outskirts of Bhavnagar city Thursday morning, police said. While Kannad and Jhala were caught from their room in the hotel, Gohil was picked up from his relative’s residence in Bhavnagar city minutes later, officers said.
“After the death of the two men, the three constables absconded and had been hiding in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Goa and Andhra Pradesh. However, they ran out of money and returned to Gujarat,” DySP Panchal, who is the investigating officer in the Mundra custodial deaths case, further said.
With the arrests of the three head constables, the number of arrests in the Mundra custodial deaths case has gone up to 10. Police had earlier arrested then Mundra police inspector J A Padhiyar, homeguards Viral Joshi and Shambu Ahir; constables Gafurji Thakor and Kapil Desai, civilian Narvirsinh Sarvaiya and a former sarpanch of Samaghogha village, Jayvirsinh Jadeja. The victims of families have alleged that the policemen beat Arjan and Harjog to death at the behest of Jayvirsinh Jadeja due to a land dispute.
The arrests of the trio come exactly a week after a local court in Mundra declared them proclaimed offenders on March 19. After they were booked in custodial deaths case on January 20 this year, the three constables were suspended from service
According to an FIR registered at Mundra police station on January 20, police had picked up Arjan, Harjog and Shamla Gadhvi as suspects in a house break-in incident in Samaghogha village.
According to the police, the accused policemen and the former sarpanch of Samghogha allegedly kept the three men in illegal confinement and physically tortured them leading to Arjan’s death on January 19. In his complaint, Arjan’s relative Devraj Gadhvi named the three head-constables as accused. The trio was booked for murder and illegally confining the three men of Samaghogha. Harjog had succumbed to injuries while undergoing treatment in a hospital in Ahmedabad on February 6 while Shamla has since recovered.
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