The curious cases of three deaths inside police facility

India on 30 April 2014
Location : New Delhi, India | Source : Hindustan Times; image source: flickr user Maarten Van Damme

If you thought the infamous Shobhit Modi murder or the confusing Anmol Sarna cases were aberrations when it came to the quality of Delhi Police investigation, think again.

The force has been struggling to make sense of the deaths of four of its own men for two years now. The cases were reported one after another from one of its own facilities.

Between early May and September 2012, three policemen died in strange circumstances at the Delhi Police Training Centre in Malviya Nagar. The centre also serves as a residential complex for personnel posted to the 7th Battalion. The fourth was also posted at PTS, but was killed on his way home in his native village.

The first of these incidents was a 23-year-old’s suicide, followed by a 22-year-old’s ‘accidental’ murder, a 46-year-old’s accidental death that occurred by falling down two stories and, finally, a 24-year-old’s murder far away in Jhajjar, Haryana. Three of the victims were constables, belonged to the same batch of inductees of 2010 and knew each other well.

The family of one of the victims believes that senior police officers deliberately looked the other way in the case and moved the Delhi High Court for a CBI enquiry into the matter, which is currently underway by the elite crime branch. In response to their writ petition, the inquiry is likely to be granted to the CBI sometime early this week.

“On May 3, 2012, the body of my son Munish Hooda, who had just recovered from typhoid and was supposed to come home for a holiday, was fished out of a water tank at the PTC,” said his father Krishan Hooda. Krishan is a Head Constable (HC) posted in Delhi.

“My son was around six feet tall and here was his body being recovered from a defunct water tank which measured four by two feet. Worse is no one from the hundreds of policemen who stayed in the same facility with him saw, heard or knew anything about the incident. How is this possible?” Krishan asked.

Five days later, on May 8, one of Constable Munish’s batchmates, Constable Dinesh, was ‘accidentally’ shot in the forehead by his bunkmate, Constable Kalu, who was arrested soon after. Two weeks later, Head Constable Vishram Singh, 46, slipped to his death after falling down a balcony on the second floor of the same facility.

Later Constable Devender was reported to have been murdered while on a trip home to Jhajjar, Haryana in early September 2012. “You are telling me there is nothing that connects these deaths and that this doesn’t reek of a cover-up. I believe all the others who died were deliberately eliminated because they wanted to identify senior police officers who turned a blind eye to those batchmates of my son who were responsible for his murder,” Krishan claimed.

On their part, the police said they had conducted ‘adequate’ investigations and questioned five police personnel who seemed to be connected to the incident at first but to no avail.

“Both Hooda’s post-mortem and viscera report ruled out any foul play. No evidence or proof could be gathered in any manner,” said a senior police officer. “As far as we are concerned, the batch that the constables belonged to was probably jinxed,” he added.

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