Nearly two months after Vadodara police booked six police personnel for allegedly killing a Telangana man while in custody at the Fatehgunj police station, the six accused policemen have surrendered to the State Crime Investigation Department (CID). A month ago, the Gujarat High Court had asked the Vadodara police to hand over the case to the State CID.
The six accused policemen– the then police inspector of Fatehgunj police station DB Gohil, police sub-inspector DM Rabari and Lok Rakshak Dal jawans Pankaj Mavjibhai, Yogendra Jilansinh, Rajiv Savjibhai and Hitesh Shambubhai – surrendered before the State CID on Monday, according to officials. All six officers will undergo a Covid19 test as per protocol before being formally arrested, a senior official said.
The victim, Babu Sheikh Nisar (65), had reportedly gone missing on December 10, 2019, after he was apprehended by policemen on suspicion of theft. While the six policemen, according to the Vadodara police were absconding, one of them — Police Inspector DB Gohil – had also filed a petition before the high court, seeking to quash the FIR against them on the grounds that the police is yet to ascertain if the said victim is “indeed dead”, in August.
A division bench of Justice Sonia Gokani and NV Anjaria, during a hearing on August 5, had also directed that the investigation must be carried out by an officer of the rank of Superintendent of Police of the CID and be supervised by an officer of the rank of Deputy Inspector General. Both investigating officers were to be selected by Director General of Police Ashish Bhatia, the court said.
The court also remarked that the mere act of the Vadodara police agreeing to add IPC Section 302 (culpable homicide amounting to murder) upon the court’s insistence, is “not sufficient discharge of duty” by the said investigating officer.
Vadodara police, which registered an FIR in the case on July 6, after Nisar’s son moved the HC with a habeas corpus petition, has relied heavily on the statement of Assistant Head Constable Shaktisinh, who has said that he saw Nisar tied to a chair while the accused tortured him to extract a confession of the theft. Shaktisinh has said that he saw the accused inserting a pen between Nisar’s fingers until he bled and “his voice faded away” and he “did not appear that he could be alive”, the FIR states.
The Vadodara police, in July, also confiscated the car of head constable Mahesh Rathwa of Fatehgunj police station as it was allegedly used by the accused police officers to dispose of the body, police said. Rathwa, however, was not made an accused in the case of Vadodara city police.