FOUR DAYS after he was arrested by Ludhiana police for alleged vehicle theft, a 26-year-old man died in judicial custody late Wednesday. His family claimed he died of grievous injuries while being tortured at Ludhiana Central Jail. Police said a judicial probe has been ordered in the case.
The deceased was identified as Deepak Shukla (26) of Mandi Ahmedgarh. Police said he was arrested on February 22 in a vehicle theft case and an FIR was registered against him at division number 5 police station. He was sent to two days’ police remand and on February 24, the court sent him to judicial remand. On Wednesday, his condition deteriorated and he was taken to Civil Hospital, but was declared dead on arrival.
Deepak’s family has alleged that he was brutally assaulted in prison, and that when they had met him in jail on Wednesday, he wasn’t even able to walk properly.
Rajesh, Deepak’s uncle, also alleged that the FIR lodged against him was false. He claimed that Deepak had purchased a car via an online portal but police had claimed it was a stolen vehicle.
He further alleged that Deepak was “illegally detained” at Kochhar Market police post since February 11 and it was only on February 14 that his wife Preeti got a call from police that he had been detained. He claimed that ASI Jaskaran Singh, posted at Kochhar Market police post, had demanded a bribe of Rs 1.25 lakh to release Deepak.
“We gave Rs 25,000 to ASI but he still did not release Deepak and registered FIR against him only on February 22. Court sent him in judicial remand on February 24 but he was taken to jail only on February 25. On Wednesday morning, hours after we met him in jail, we received a call that he had died and his body was in Civil Hospital. When we met him yesterday in jail, he wasn’t even able to walk properly. He also asked us to file a complaint in court that he was tortured,” said Rajesh.
ACP (Civil Lines) Jatinder Singh said Deepak was booked for allegedly stealing three cars and two motorbikes, adding that the deceased was part of a ‘vehicle lifting gang’.
“He was sent in judicial remand on February 24 but paperwork was completed too late and the main doors of the jail were closed. So we had to return and took him again to jail on February 25. He was dropped at the jail only after proper medical check-up and he was fine till then. A judicial probe has been marked in the case. Autopsy report will reveal cause of death,” said the ACP, adding that the family’s allegations of the ASI taking bribe will also be investigated.
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