A tehsildar in Uttar Pradesh’s Badaun district was removed from his post Friday, a day after the death of a 40-year-old farmer in the lock-up of Sahaswan Tehsil.
Tehsildar Dhirendra Kumar claimed that the farmer, Brijpal, complained of stomach ache and uneasiness and died on the way to the district hospital, but the farmer’s family alleged that he was tortured and that led to his death.
Brijpal had been in the lock-up for the last 11 days after he failed to pay a fine of Rs 81,947 for alleged power theft last year. If he failed for pay the fine within 14 days of detention, the administration would have released him, and the fine would have been recovered by attaching his assets.
Tehsildar Kumar said Brijpal was taken into custody after he failed to pay dues to Power Department. “A Recovery Certificate was issued in the name of Brijpal …he was in the lock-up since September 23. On Thursday night, he complained of uneasiness and stomach ache and we rushed him to Community Health Centre, Sahaswan. He was referred to the district hospital. He died on the way.”
Brijpal’s brother Mahesh alleged that the farmer was incorrectly sent the Recovery Certificate. “He was innocent. The claim by the officials that he had dues is false. The Recovery Certificate carries a wrong name. It reads Brijpal, son of Omkar, whereas our father’s name was Ompal. The man who was actually involved in the power theft left the village and the department slapped the fine in my brother’s name,” he said.
Mahesh accused the tehsildar and his staff of torturing his brother. He said he last met Brijpal on Tuesday. “He was fine that day. He told me that they may do something untoward to him,” he said.
District Magistrate Dinesh Kumar Singh said he has ordered a magisterial probe by SDM (Sadar) Parasnath Maurya. “Tehsildar Dhirendra Kumar has been removed till the inquiry report is submitted. I have asked the investigating officer to submit it as soon as possible,” said the DM.
Responding to the allegation that the Recovery Certificate was issued to the wrong person, Sahaswan SDM Sanjay Singh said initially, a wrong name had been used, but it was later corrected to Brijpal, son of Ompal. “The change was approved with signature of Executive Engineer, Hydel, Badaun. It was Brijpal who was a defaulter. The allegation that he was the wrong Brijpal is false,” he said.
Chief Medical Officer Dr Manjeet Singh said Brijpal’s autopsy was conducted by a team of two doctors and the cause of death could not be ascertained. “Further test may help find exact cause of death,” said Dr Singh.