Odisha rights body pulls up two police officers for misuse of power

Panel directs official to pay ₹5 lakh compensation

Published - November 13, 2020 09:37 pm IST - BHUBANESWAR

The Odisha Human Rights Commission (OHRC) has pulled up two police officers in two separate cases for allegedly filing a false murder case and indulging in custodial torture.

While the rights panel imposed a penalty of ₹5 lakh on Prakash Kumar Karna, whose false murder charges led to two youths spending eight months in jail, it directed the State government not to give police station duty to Sandhyarani Jena, a police inspector, who was captured in a video beating up a man inside the police station.

After one Jitu Dandasena, a 19-year-old youth of Piplipali village under Paikmal Police station of Bargarh district, went missing in December 2016, his father had lodged a complaint with the Paikmal police station. Mr. Karna, who was the then investigating officer, arrested two persons — Halu Gurla and Raghab Naik — in June 2017 on charges of killing the youth. Ironically, the police did not find his body. The two youths were reportedly coerced into ‘confessing’ to the murder of the missing youth. A chargesheet was also filed in the court.

Man returns home

However, Jitu Dandasena, who was killed, as claimed by the investigating officer, returned home in May 2018. He then said that the accused had actually attacked him. They left him when he fell unconscious. Subsequently, he fled to Delhi to work there.

“Extraction of a confession self-implicating a person in an offence which he has not committed shows the amount of pressure, may be physical or psychological, undergone by the victims and looking at the conduct of the investigating official, we do not rule out the extraction of confessional statement by means of physical assault and use of force during police custody. Otherwise, a person cannot self-implicate himself in a case where in trial, it may take him to the gallows,” the panel said. The Commission’s chairperson, Justice B.P. Das, and member Asim Amitabh Dash directed the investigating officer to pay ₹2.5 lakh as compensation to each of the youths.

Custodial violence

The panel also found Sandhyarani Jena, former inspector of Patna police station in Keonjhar district, guilty of custodial violence. It directed that she should not be given any field duty for a period of two years.

The errant police officer should also be sent for training to learn about how to deal with accused persons, it said.

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