Cops claim auto driver’s father committed suicide; post-mortem report awaited

A 50-year-old man who was set ablaze allegedly by two Delhi Police constables for protesting against an extortion bid on his son succumbed to his injuries at Safdarjung Hospital here on Wednesday. The case might be transferred to the Crime Branch for further probe.

The police have not added the provision of murder against the constables for now, stating that the matter is being analysed and they would take a decision after investigations. At the time of registration of the case, the police had pointed to counter claims that the victim Uday Chand had immolated himself.

On the contrary, family members have alleged that the two police constables, Rajkumar and Surender, had poured petrol on Chand and set him afire when he expressed his inability to pay the extortion amount for parking of his son Navin’s auto-rickshaw under their jurisdiction.

Subsequently, both the constables posted with Neb Sarai police station were booked for attempting to murder the victim and extorting money, but have not been arrested yet. They, were, however suspended and a departmental inquiry was initiated against them.

Soon after news of Chand’s death broke, family members, neighbours and other auto-rickshaw drivers thronged the hospital and protested against the police brutality. Some protesters alleged that the police had double standards when it came to taking action against their own men vis-à-vis others. For their part, the police said that among other things they were waiting for the post-mortem report to take further action. Accordingly, they would decide whether to invoke murder charge against the constables. The post-mortem will be conducted on Thursday.

Chand’s sons Navin and Bhairav had recently started plying an auto-rickshaw which they had taken on rent. It is alleged that the beat constables deployed at Sainik Farms demanded one-time bribe of Rs.20,000 to allow the siblings to operate in the area. Last week, Navin told the constables that he could manage to raise only Rs.7,500 and handed over the amount to Raj and Surendra. They purportedly allowed him to ply the vehicle on the condition that he would pay the rest in a couple of days.

Coming to know of this, Chand approached the constables and made a request to allow his sons to pay up in instalments, which was turned down as they insisted that the entire amount be paid in one go. They, however, did not listen to him and purportedly impounded the vehicle without any documentation. As Chand insisted on letting his son go, the policemen took the alleged step.

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