PATNA: Some policemen in the Bihar capital were allegedly so angry with the 14-year-old son of a vegetable seller for refusing to give them vegetables for free that they sent him to jail on false charges in a bike theft case.
The boy was arrested and sent to Beur Central Jail in Patna three months ago, but the matter came to light on Thursday when Chief Minister Nitish Kumar ordered senior police officials to look into the allegations and submit a report within two days. Sukhal Paswan, the boy’s distraught father, had approached the CM after failing to get help from police officials.
While the minor boy should have been sent to a juvenile home following his arrest, the cops presented him in a court along with four other adult accused and informed the judge that he was an adult. So he was sent to jail. His family has displayed documents to insist that he is only 14 years old.
Paswan, a resident of Paliganj near Patna, said his son used to accompany him at his vegetable cart at Mahatma Gandhi Nagar under Patrakar Nagar police station. He said a group of policemen often took vegetables from him and paid nothing.
“My son objected to giving vegetables to the cops for free. On March 19 evening, when I was not at the cart, he refused to give free vegetables to the cops. The next day, some cops came and called him out. They took him in their jeep and sent him to jail,” said Paswan.
For the next two days, nothing about the boy’s whereabouts was revealed to Paswan though he visited several police stations. When he learnt his son was arrested in a bike theft case and lodged in jail, he went to see him. “My son told me how he was threatened by the cops. He said he knows nothing about the bike theft and does not even know the four other accused in the case,” said Paswan.
Gyanti Devi, the boy’s mother, showed his Aadhaar card and other documents to say he is 14 years old. “The policemen hatched a conspiracy against my son to put him in jail. They beat him up and forced him to sign on blank sheets of paper. I want him released as soon as possible,” she said.
“We have started a probe into the allegations. At this point, it is unclear if the cops acted illegally. Strict action will be taken against the cops if it is found they broke the law and acted in highhanded manner,” said IGP (Patna range) Nayyar Hasnain Khan.