As the killing of Pushpendra Yadav in an alleged encounter in Jhansi triggered a political row with Opposition leaders flocking to his home and targeting the BJP state government, the UP Police Wednesday registered an FIR into the encounter.
Another FIR was registered earlier against Yadav, his brother Ravinder and cousin Vipin for allegedly firing at Moth police station SHO Dharmender Chauhan, who had seized Yadav’s truck about a week earlier, on October 6. This FIR states that the three men were cornered by police hours later and after a brief shootout, Yadav was shot dead and Ravinder and Vipin escaped.
But the case took an unusual turn Wednesday with Yadav’s brother Ravinder asserting that he has proof that he was in Delhi at the time of the encounter. In fact, he said was completing a 10-hour shift at the JLN Stadium metro station as a DMRC employee.
He also has a leave certificate issued by his senior officer at the DMRC violet line, which started from October 6 and ends on October 31. “I am a constable with the CISF. I got a call saying my brother shot at an SHO. I applied for my leave and rushed back home. Then I got to know I am an accused. I was never there. If I was, they would have arrested me,” Ravinder told The Indian Express.
Asked about Ravinder’s claim, Assistant Superintendent of Police, Jhansi, Rahul Mithas said: “If he (Ravinder) was not there then his name will be removed. There will be a magisterial inquiry into the police conduct as well. This is all part of an investigation. If the police officers are found at fault then action will be taken.”
UP ADG (Law and Order) P V Ramasastry said a second FIR was registered to probe the alleged encounter. “At present there is a magisterial inquiry by an Additional DM-level officer. Investigation in both FIRs is taking place under close supervision of district SSP and zone and range-level officers are also keeping an eye on the investigation,” he said.
Asked if Pushpendra posed enough of a threat to be killed in an encounter, Ramasastry said, “The question that should be asked is whether the use of force was lawful or not and that is exactly what is being investigated.”
But Pushpender’s family has claimed since Sunday that Yadav was killed in a fake encounter over a bribe deal gone wrong. The family had even refused to cremate his body, demanding an FIR against SHO Chauhan.
Pushpender’s father, Harishchander, a former CISF constable blinded in both eyes, said, “Police took my son’s body forcefully and told me not to lower police morale. They burnt his body by locking the gates of the crematorium. He was cremated in secret.”
ASP Mithas said, “We gave them an option to attend the cremation. They denied. What can we do?”
Yadav’s wife Shivangi, who married him 3 months ago, said, “My husband had a huge fine. The SHO impounded his truck and asked for Rs 1 lakh. My husband paid the amount in cash and the SHO did not give him back the truck. He demanded Rs 50,000 more. My husband left to buy medicines for his mother and get his truck back. He was killed by the SHO because of this. He has no criminal record.”
The Jhansi police also released a list of cases against Pushpender. According to police, he was booked in five cases involving assault, property disputes, fleeing with a local woman and a case under the Goonda Act.
Earlier, Jhansi police arrested 39 people staging a protest against Yadav’s killing and demanding an FIR against SHO Chauhan. The arrested, including former BSF constable Tej Bahadur Yadav, who is contesting the Haryana assembly polls against Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar from Karnal, were sent to jail after being produced in court.
Former UP Chief Minister and Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav too visited Pushpendra’s family at Kargua Khurd village. He demanded a probe by a High Court judge and called for the policemen to be booked for murder.
He said, “This story that the UP police has set out…about an encounter. This is not an encounter. The UP police killed Pushpender. No FIR has been registered against the errant police officers. What kind of police is this? What kind of state is this run by a CM who is a Yogi? What hopes do we have ?”