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Alleged custodial death an example of misuse of power, opine retired cops

India on 24 July 2014
Location : Mumbai, India | Source : Times of India.

Inquiry into the suspected custodial death of a 23-yaer-old man, Mohammed Ali Sayyed, at Sewree police station in 2009, could be the result of careless handling a criminal case and misuse of power, opined several retired IPS officials. 

TOI on Thursday carried a story about a suspected custodial death at Sewree police station which was shown as an accidental death. Investigating officer, Prashant Mane, was accused of forging statements of witnesses, signatures of panchas, making false panchanma etc. As per the statements of some policemen who faced the inquiry, the deceased, Sayyed, was brought to the police station on October 16, 2009, for investigation after his uncle complained of theft against him. A policemen told the inquiry officer that a constable from the Sewree police's detection branch beat up Sayyed who died later. It is also found in the inquiry report that Sayyed's body was later found dumped near Kasara gate, Sewree and was shown as death due to road accident. There was no FIR or NC against Sayyed at the police station. 

M N Singh, who retired as Mumbai police commissioner, said that such cases are examples of careless handling of cases. "This is what happens sometimes when senior officers do not supervise probe in their police station. Besides this, over enthusiasm of investigating officer makes such mistakes. Its absolutely wrong that the person was called in for inquiry when there was no FIR aginst him," said Singh. He termed the case as an example of misuse of power. "Constables who interrogate suspects are not responsible and trained enough and then the cover up begins. The senior officers should have taken notice of this earlier," he added. 

Similarly, Y P Singh, IPS officer-turned-lawyer, opined that old habits die hard. "This is yet another case where a suspect was forcibly brought to police station without the necessary legal formality of registering an FIR and doing formal arrest. Further in this case there was a serious lapse of not converting accidental death report into the FIR even if the police story of road accident had to be taken at its face value. Had this been done truth would have come out long back. Moreover, this seems to be a typical case where cops were used by opposite party to get torture inflicted on an innocent person," said Y P Singh. 

Talking about custodial death, advocate Pranav Badheka, said, "Both custodial rape and custodial death are the worst kind of human right violations. It is the state's responsibility to protect any individual, even if accused, from physical harm. Custodial torture cannot be countenanced in any form and the police in this case if the probe report does implicate any policeman, strictest action, both departmental and prosecution must follow." 

Krishna Parakash, additional commissioner of police, refused to comment on the case saying they were going through the reports and will come to a conclusion soon.

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