Man suspected of theft dies allegedly in U.P. Police custody

Five policemen, including an Inspector and SI, suspended

Updated - October 21, 2021 01:08 am IST

Published - October 20, 2021 03:16 pm IST - LUCKNOW

SSP Agra Muniraj G. Photo: Twitter/@agrapolice

SSP Agra Muniraj G. Photo: Twitter/@agrapolice

A sweeper, who was suspected of stealing ₹25 lakh from a police station warehouse in Agra, allegedly died in police custody during the recovery of the amount on Wednesday.

An FIR on charges of murder was lodged against unidentified persons after Arun Valmiki’s family alleged that he was assaulted after being picked up for questioning and raised doubts on the police version.

Five police personnel, including an Inspector and an SI who had gone for the recovery, were suspended and an inquiry committee was constituted, SSP Agra Muniraj G said.

Later in the night, Mr. Muniraj said the autopsy report of Arun Valmiki showed he had died of myocadrial infarction (heart attack), and that the matter was being deeply probed.

On October 17, the money went missing from the storeroom of the Jagdishpura police station following which five policemen were suspended for negligence and a probe was initiated. The sweeper was among those detained and questioned as a suspect, the police said.

Mr. Muniraj said the sweeper had allegedly confessed to the crime and a police team took him to his house where he said he had hidden the cash.

While recovering the amount, his “health suddenly went bad,” Mr. Muniraj said. The police and his family rushed him to a hospital where a doctor declared him brought dead, said the SSP. The police had managed to recover ₹15 lakh from him, he said.

The family of the sweeper alleged that he was murdered by the police and accused the police personnel of first carrying out the theft and then trying to falsely implicate Arun.

The incident led to anger among the Valmiki community members. They gathered near the post-mortem house in large numbers demanding action against the police.

Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav demanded strict action against the police, accusing them of murder.

Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra demanded a high-level probe and action against the policemen. She also said the family of the deceased person should be provided compensation. Ms. Vadra was briefly detained by the police as she took the road from Lucknow to Agra to meet the family of the deceased.

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