Another custodial death, two cops among four arrested

NEW DELHI, MARCH 17. A 60-year-old man, who was picked up by the Shahdara police for questioning in connection with the alleged theft of a Tata-407 on Tuesday night, died under mysterious circumstances today. Acting swiftly, the police arrested a sub-inspector, an assistant sub-inspector, the vehicle owner and its driver on charges of murder. The area Station House Officer (SHO) has also been placed under suspension.

The victim, Kishan Singh, a resident of Sarai Rohilla in North Delhi, worked as a driver in a factory in the Jhilmil Industrial Area. On Tuesday night, the police received a call from another driver, Shakti Singh, claiming that Kishan had stolen his vehicle. Subsequently, a police team comprising Sub-Inspector Ram Kumar and Assistant Sub-Inspector Ramesh Chand picked up Kishan from Shahdara on Wednesday evening for questioning. The police claimed that Kishan's family members were informed about his detention and he was kept in the police station for the night for questioning.

It is alleged that during questioning this afternoon, Kishan complained of "uneasiness" and fell unconscious. He was taken to Gupta Nursing Home and then referred to Guru Tegh Bahadur Hospital where he was declared dead on arrival around 3-30 p.m.

As soon as news about his death reached senior police officers, they immediately got a murder case registered and arrested Ram Kumar and Ramesh Chand. At their instance, the police also rounded up the Tata-407 driver, Shakti, and its owner, K.P. Singh, who were present at the police station when Kishan was being "interrogated". All four have been booked under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code to be read with the charge of keeping the victim in illegal confinement.

The police later learnt that the vehicle reported to have been stolen by Kishan had been impounded by the Desh Bandhu Gupta Road police after it was found abandoned there. It came to light that on Tuesday, Kishan and Shakti had gone to Manesar in Haryana to deliver a metal consignment after which they allegedly consumed liquor on their way back with another consignment. On reaching Karol Bagh, Kishan insisted on getting down as it was easy for him to reach home from there. Shakti entered into an argument asking him to accompany him to Shahdara. However, Kishan got down from the vehicle and went to his Sarai Rohilla house.

It is alleged that Shakti then abandoned the vehicle near Desh Bandhu Gupta Road and went home in an auto-rickshaw. Realising that he had left the vehicle unattended, he allegedly called up the Police Control Room (PCR) claiming that Kishan had stolen the vehicle from him, following which he was picked up for questioning.

The case has been transferred to the District Investigation Unit of the North-East Delhi police for further investigations. A separate probe into the allegations of death in police custody has been initiated by the area Additional Divisional Magistrate. The post-mortem on Kishan's body will be performed at GTB Hospital on Friday.

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