Exhume the youth’s body, court tells police; case transferred to Mumbai Crime Branch

The Bombay High Court on Tuesday came down heavily on the Government Railway Police (GRP) for failing to properly investigate the alleged custodial death of a youth in Mumbai.

The court has transferred the probe to the Mumbai Crime Branch. It has ordered the police to exhume and preserve the body of the youth.

It has also directed the Maharashtra Director-General of Police to supervise the probe.

Agnello Valdaris, a 24-year-old, allegedly died in police custody in April. The family and friends have claimed that he was picked up by the Wadala GRP, and was subjected to physical and sexual torture, which led to his death. The police claimed the youth was run over by a train during his escape bid.

The petition has alleged that the policemen also tortured three other youths. One of them is a minor.

‘Unpardonable’

On Tuesday, the court severely reprimanded the police. “Nobody took cognisance of the complaints made by the father of the deceased. The CID, instead of probing fairly, looks like started protecting the erring officers. This is unpardonable. The allegations are of serious nature which the higher authorities should have taken cognisance of. This shows complete lack of sensitivity on the part of the high-ranking officers,” the court observed.

Thereafter, it directed the police to seize the CCTV footage and case-related documents. It also restricted the 12 police officials under investigation from approaching the victims or their family members.

It has also directed the authorities to collect the clothes worn by the victim when he was picked up from his house. The clothes should be sent for forensic analysis, the court said in its interim order.

It will hear the matter next on Friday when the police have been ordered to file a compliance report. The Mumbai Crime Branch has been directed to register an FIR within 24 hours.