No indictment despite city police facing repeated charges of custodial torture

Six cases reported to the KSHRC and the Lokayukta in 2013

Published - August 25, 2014 12:39 am IST - Bangalore:

The alleged suicide of a 27-year-old cab driver Pradeep following allegations of torture by the police is not an isolated case in which custodial torture charges have been made against the city police. Two persons — a shopkeeper and a domestic help — committed suicide last year allegedly because of police excesses.

At least six cases of custodial torture were reported in 2013 to the Karnataka State Human Rights Commission (KSHRC) and the Lokayukta. However, despite complaints being filed and the officers being suspended, no one has been indicted so far.

City-based advocate and human rights activist Narasimha Murthy, who is handling many custodial torture cases, claimed that police officers enjoy immunity and the support of their department despite the gravity of the allegations.

Despite a Supreme Court direction for strict punishment, usually senior officers drag an inquiry for a long period of time and the case fades away, he alleged.

Charge refuted

Refuting the charge, a senior police officer said that cases had been booked against the officers allegedly involved in custodial torture. Citing an example, he said a criminal case had been booked against the then Vidyaranyapura police inspector B.P. Prasad and a charge sheet filed in a 2013 case, he said.

Mr. Murthy said that a police officer suspended in such case would get 50 per cent salary till the end of the case and there was no provision for providing financial assistance to the family of the deceased.

“We have moved the court to ensure that compensation is given to the victim and the money is deducted from the salary of the police officer facing the charge,” he said.

Taking a strong exception to the Saturday’s incident in the city, KSHRC member C.G. Hungund said he had asked the officials concerned to trace the inquest report and the follow up of the investigation for the next course of action.

The department should book the accused officer under Section 306 of the IPC, but instead they conduct a departmental inquiry and suspend him for a few months. “This time, we will take up the issue and take it to its logical end,” he said.

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