Gaffar released after intervention of PUCL activists
A flower vendor was detained illegally for three days on the charge of stealing two mobile phones and money by the Sultan Bazar police, based on an oral complaint lodged by a businessman in mid-April. The flower vendor, Gaffar, who was just recuperating from a near fatal knife attack, was let off only after the intervention of the People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) state unit.
With the PUCL state president Jaya Vindhyala rushing to the station and bringing the illegal detention to the notice of higher-ups, Gaffar was let off without any charge, but no action has been initiated against Sub-Inspector Saidulu, who detained him illegally.
Senior police officers maintain that Gaffar was “only summoned to the station for questioning and let off”.
“Normally, we summon suspects to the station to ascertain facts and let them off if they are innocent. Gaffar's was one such case,” East Zone DCP Y. Gangadhar said.
Gaffar, a resident of Yakutpura, told The Hindu on Thursday that the police picked him up on April 14. “Not listening to my explanation that I was never involved in any offence, the SI threatened me to admit to the charge that I had stolen Rs.50,000 and two mobile phones from a businessman Vikas Aggarwal's house,” he recalled.
His pleas with the police that he had to take medicines as he was recuperating from a knife attack fell on deaf ears and no medical help was provided to him. He alleged that he was slapped while in their custody.
Gaffar claimed that he had purchased two Chinese mobile phones from a person in Nampally. As they were not working properly, he gave them to his friend, Yaseen, requesting him to sell them.
Phones change hands
The two phones changed hands through Aleem and finally a person, Farooq, purchased them from a broker in Jagdish market at Abids.
The businessman approached the police claiming that he received a message about the location of the stolen mobile phone since it had facility of tracking software. “Based on this, the SI first picked up Farooq and later narrowed down on Gaffar,” the DCP said.
While the flower vendor was in the police station, Mr. Aggarwal told him that if he wanted to be released he had to pay Rs.25,000 and get him a new iPhone. “The complainant maintained that part of the money would go to the SI,” Gaffar alleged. Meanwhile, Ms. Vindhyala rushed to the station on learning about his ‘illegal detention' and complained to the higher-ups.
Interestingly, while Gaffar was taken into custody on April 14, the written complaint was taken only two days later after the PUCL intervened. The police authorities, she maintained, had admitted that they were unaware of the illegal detention since they were busy tackling the communal cases at Saidabad and Madannapet then.
They assured to take action against the SI, but nothing had been done so far. She demanded that action be taken against the erring officer and that protection be given to Gaffar.