IAC volunteer alleges police torture

He’s the brother of Delhi advocate involved in a gang-rape protest case

Published - January 15, 2013 10:29 am IST - Bangalore

Loknath Bharti was allegedly tortured by the HSR Police in Bangalore.

Loknath Bharti was allegedly tortured by the HSR Police in Bangalore.

A young software engineer from Delhi, who had come to participate in a protest organised by India Against Corruption (IAC) here, was allegedly tortured over the weekend at the HSR Layout police station during questioning.

To compound the situation, IAC members said that they were attacked by goons when they were staging a protest in front of the police station against the alleged torture even as the police looked on. Instead of taking action against the attackers, the IAC members said, the police took 15 protesters under preventive custody.

Threatening cook

The police version is that Loknath Bharti (25), who was staying in a paying guest accommodation on Sarjapur Road, was picked up by the H.S.R. Layout police following a complaint by Ravinder Aneja, the owner of the PG accommodation. Mr. Aneja had alleged that Mr. Bharti threatened the cook at the PG accommodation with a knife during a quarrel.

The police on Saturday picked up Mr. Bharti and took him to the station where they allegedly beat him up. They later booked him for criminal intimidation and produced him before a magistrate at his house who remanded him in judicial custody on Saturday.

Lawyer’s brother

Coincidentally, Mr. Bharti is the younger brother of Somnath Bharti, the Delhi High Court and Supreme Court advocate who has filed a case against Delhi police in Constable Subhash Singh Tomar’s death saying they have the wrong men.

While the other members of IAC went to enquire about the arrest of their colleague, the police claimed that there was no arrest, but later admitted to it after one of the IAC members showed them a copy of the first information report (FIR).

After spending two days at the Parappana Agrahara, Mr. Bharti, who got bail on Monday, told to his friends that he had been “tortured” by the police for arguing with them.

Protesters attacked

Angered by this, the IAC members rushed to the police station and staged a protest demanding action against the erring officials. The police station soon turned into a virtual battleground when a group of men who appeared to come from nowhere attacked the protesters, including senior IAC members, and beat them up in front of the police and vanished as fast as they came.

However, instead of taking action against the attackers, the police detained around 15 members of IAC on the charge of creating nuisance.

“We were protesting against the ‘custodial torture’ and the protest was peaceful. We don’t know who these attackers were. We want to know why the police have not taken any action against them for beating up the protesters inside the police station,” IAC member Madhusoodhan told The Hindu . The members have filed an FIR against the HSR Layout police accusing them of torturing Mr. Bharti in custody and police inaction during the attack.

Police version

However, Assistant Commissioner of Police, Madiwala Subdivision, H. Subbanna, said that Mr. Bharti was summoned by the police for counselling after the PG owner lodged a complaint, accusing him of harassing his employees.

He said that Mr. Bharti became aggressive and in the melee, a constable pushed him, causing him to fall off the chair and bruising himself. But an inquiry has been initiated and action will be taken against the officials if they are found guilty, he said.

‘A conspiracy’

Meanwhile, Mr. Somnath Bharti, who arrived in Bangalore to help his brother secure bail, told reporters: “This is to discourage me from taking up a case against Delhi police for the arrest of eight youth. The police arrested my brother on a false complaint and beat him before sending him to the Central Prison 10 hours later to cover their human rights violations. It was a bailable offence he was accused of. He was denied medical help all along till he reached jail.”

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