Updated: May 23, 2015 12:23:31 pm
Bullets would whizz past, to his right, to his left. Never striking, only striking fear. Once, they poured petrol in his anus. And on another occasion, they gave him electric shocks in his private parts. An officer would wave his revolver and say “there is one bullet left, it is sufficient for you”.
These are some of the third-degree measures that Abdul Qayyum Mansuri, sentenced to death in the 2002 Akshardham temple attack case and acquitted after the verdict was quashed by the Supreme Court in May 2014, alleges were used on him in custody. He has detailed these in his book ‘11 years behind the bars’.
He was one of six arrested by the Ahmedabad Detection of Crime Branch (DCB) on August 29, 2003 — 11 months after the September 24, 2002 terror attack on the temple in Gandhinagar left 33 dead and 86 injured.
Alleging torture in custody of the DCB, Mansuri, who used to be the Mufti of the Bawahir Masjid in Dariyapur, has named several officers in the book but three figure repeatedly — D G Vanzara, G L Singhal and V D Vanar. The book, translated into English from Urdu, was released in Delhi.
He describes a “club party” that beat up detainees. “This club party was a group of five-six inhumans… uncivilised persons who would rush in like hungry wolves… they used to beat until they themselves got tired or the victim became unconscious…”
He mentions crime branch officials flew him and the others to Kashmir as tourists to try and get the other accused but forgot to show them photographs; and how a doctor gave him an injection which was probably sodium pentathol to extract a confession.
When The Indian Express sought Vanzara’s response on the book and its allegations, he said he had not read the book and it would “not be appropriate to comment” on any of the allegations.
He spoke on phone from Mumbai where he currently lives to meet conditions of the bail granted to him in alleged fake encounter cases.
Singhal questioned Mansuri’s version. “One gets arrested when there is evidence against him. He was arrested because there was evidence against him which was proved in the sessions court and the high court. I don’t think there is anything authentic about what he is saying now after 11 years.”
Singhal, released on bail in the Ishrat Jahan encounter case, is a State Reserve Police commandant. Vanar, who has retired, said he had not read the book.
“I have heard that he (Mansuri) has misused the right to freedom of speech and expression. I was not the IO (investigating officer) in the case. I was handling investigation of only a particular part. Two courts (sessions court and high court) approved (the case against Mansuri), and the Supreme Court did not.”
On the allegations of torture, Vanar said: “As per rules, while in police custody, the accused are produced before doctors. And the confessional statement is recorded before a magistrate in the absence of police officials. One could have always spoken about it before the authorities. After so many years, why is he making these allegations?”
He said he would read the book and, if necessary, take remedial action.
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