A 40-year-old man, identified as Rajpati Khushwaha, was shot at close range inside Singhpur police station of Satna district on Sunday in an alleged case of custodial death after he was called in for questioning in a theft case, it emerged on Monday.
Khushwaha was allegedly shot around 10 pm Sunday. He was declared dead on arrival at Rewa Medical College Hospital.
Kushwaha’s family, residents of his native village Narayanpur – along with Satna MLA Siddharth Kushwaha, have sought the arrest of the policemen present when the incident occurred. Protesting villagers on Monday gheraoed Singhpur police station and pelted stones demanding action in the matter. Khushwaha’s family has refused to accept the body unless the guilty are arrested.
Rewa IGP Umesh Jogi said that according to records, Khushwaha and two others were brought in for questioning after 1 pm on Sunday. Khushwaha, he said, was picked up on the basis of a complaint by Lallu Garg, the former sarpanch of Narayanpur who named Kushwaha and three others, as a suspect in a theft from his home about two months ago. Khushwaha was being questioned by Sub Inspector Vikram Pathak in presence of Constable Aashish Singh, police said.
According to Satna’s then SP Iqbal Riyaz — he was transferred out of Satna after the matter came to light— Pathak did not usually attach his service revolver to his uniform and had kept it on a table nearby. In his statement, Pathak said that while he had gone out to the washroom during the questioning, Khushwaha allegedly grabbed the firearm. In the process of getting it back, it fired and the bullet hit him, Riyaz said.
MLA Khushwaha said, “Two nephews had taken dinner for Rajpati but were made to wait outside the police station. They heard a gunshot. Lights at the police station were then turned off, a man was put in a police vehicle and rushed out.”
I-G Jogi said, “We have registered an FIR… No arrest has been made as yet since an independent magisterial probe has also been ordered.” Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has announced an ex-gratia of Rs 10 lakh for the family of the deceased.
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