MUMBAI: In yet another custodial death in Maharashtra, a Gujarat trader was found dead in police custody at Latur. Police said the death was caused due to consumption of acid. The victim’s family has refused to claim the body.
According to Himmat Singh Hadiyal from Mehsana in Gujarat, he and his brother Narendra were picked up by Latur MIDC police in a case of alleged involvement in a hawala racket on October 11.
“We were not produced before any court or the magistrate for two days. On record it was shown that we were arrested on October 13. Police demanded money for our release. I was let off after I paid them `6 lakh, but my brother was taken to Latur,” Himmat Singh said. “Police demanded `25 lakh for settling the hawala case, and `10 lakh for Narendra’s release.” Himmat Singh claims he has the proof of the same.
“While I was trying to arrange for the money on October 15, I received a call from the police saying that my brother had had a heart attack. The post-mortem report said the death was due to consuming acid,” he added, demanding a probe into the custodial death.
Sudhakhar Bavkar, who arrested Narendra and brought him to Latur, has denied the allegations and said that a police constable has been suspended for giving toilet cleaning liquid to Narendra.
“Narendra Hadiyal was wanted in connection with a dacoity, wherein the gangsters have fled to Nagpur, Mumbai and Ahmedabad. I arrested Narendra from Mehsana. He was kept in the lockup along with a few other inmates. On the morning of October 15 Narendra complained of a foul smell and asked for a toilet cleaner. The guard on duty handed over the cleaner bottle to Narendra,” Bavkar said. “All this is captured on CCTV camera. One can see the sequence of events. Narendra complained of uneasiness and nausea at around 9 pm and was rushed to hospital, where he breathed his last at around 10.30 pm.”
Bavkar added that Himmat Singh was immediately informed about the incident. “The body was kept in the morgue for two weeks, and when Himmat Singh came, he refused to claim the body,” he said.
It is the duty of conservancy workers to clean toilets in the lockup. Inmates are never asked to do it.
“The matter has been handed over to CID for investigation. The report will be placed before the High Court,” Bavkar said.
Six policemen were arrested for the custodial death of Aniket Kothale in Sangli on November 6.