The People’s Union for Democratic Rights on Tuesday alleged that third degree torture methods were used by the Gurgaon Criminal Investigation Agency while interrogating workers of Maruti Suzuki India Limited’s Manesar plant who are accused of involvement in the killing of an HR manager and the violent attack at the plant on July 18.

The PUDR alleged that the Gurgaon CIA investigation “did not seem” to be directed at solving the crime or probing the involvement of the arrested workers in the incidents and crimes recorded in the FIR but instead was based on their involvement in trade union activities.

Grave doubts

“The use of third degree torture in police custody, and the securing of arrestees’ signatures on blank papers by the police, gives rise to grave doubts regarding the ability of such an investigation in effectively identifying or arresting those guilty. The police and the State seem keener to reassure Maruti Suzuki Ltd. and ensure that production continues,” the PUDR statement signed by its secretaries Preeti Chauhan and Paramjeet Singh said.

Ms. Chauhan and Mr. Singh claimed that several workers who were on leave on the day of the alleged incident were arrested. “A large number of the over 145 arrests of workers that have been made in the case are unrelated to the crimes in the FIR. There have been different rounds of arrests. The first 93 arrests for instance took place at random on July 18-19 and included workers not even present at the factory site,” they alleged. The rights activists also criticised the termination orders served on over 500 workers before investigation was completed.

On the alleged torture, the PUDR claimed that medical examination conducted on the workers and medico-legal reports, now with the defence counsel, record the workers’ statements of alleged brutal, humiliating torture at the hands of the Gurgaon CIA.

“Workers have confirmed in the MLRs that they were stripped naked and beaten, and injured in the groin as their legs were stretched apart on both sides ‘beyond capacity’ for sustained periods of time. Some were submerged in dirty water for long duration, and rollers run over the thighs of others. The defence counsel had applied for a proper medical examination much earlier, and the same was permitted by the court. However, the police caused significant and deliberate delay even after court permission was granted, causing marks and evidence of torture to be reduced,” the statement said.

Unbiased probe

The PUDR demanded an “independent and unbiased” judicial enquiry into the events that lead to the death of Awanish Dev and that the judge so nominated should be agreeable to both the company and the accused.

The civil rights group also demanded that policemen involved in the alleged custodial torture of arrested workers be identified and criminally prosecuted. The alleged role of bouncers that purportedly led to worsening of events on July 18 needs to be probed too, PUDR said.

Despite repeated attempts to contact Gurgaon Police Commissioner K. K. Sindhu, the calls to his phone went unanswered.