Custodial death of an Undertral Prisoner – non compliance of procedure #Westbengal

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3 October 2012

The Chairman
West Bengal Human Rights Commission
Bhabani Bhaban
Kolkata – 27

Respected Sir,

We conducted fact finding on the custodial death of a prisoner (Under Trial Prisoner) at Calcutta national Medical College & Hospital, Kolkata when he in judicial custody of Alipore Central Correctional Home, Kolkata. It is also revealed during the fact finding that the victim was subjected to torture in police custody Lalgola Police Station, Murshidabad soon he was arrested. On 10.8.2012 the victim was sent to Lalbagh Sub-Divisional Correctional Home, Murshidabad by order of the ACJM Court, Lalbagh but his family members had no idea/information about his detention at Alipore Central Correctional Home, Kolkata. Though post mortem examination of the victim was held but there was no enquiry by any judicial magistrate on the custodial death of the victim in compliance of Section 176(1-A) of Criminal Procedure Code. Therefore the incident of the victim again proved that the law is incapable of granting succor to the victims of custodial violence/death and the entire exercise on the part of the government officials and judicial authorities in this case proves the arrogance of the entire system in refuting to implement the legal procedure and abide by the rule of law with which they are not comfortable.

Hence we demand your urgent action in this matter in the following manner:-
• The whole matter must be investigated by one neutral investigating agency
• The provisions of Section 176(1-A) of Criminal Procedure Code must be implemented in this case.
• The perpetrator police personnel of Lalgola Police Station must be booked under the law immediately for perpetrating custodial torture upon the victim and they must be punished in accordance with law.
• The concerned perpetrator jail authorities must be reprimanded for causing the death of the victim in custody and be punished accordingly.
• The victim’s family must be compensated adequately.

Thanking you,
Yours truly,

Kirity Roy
Secretary, MASUM
National Convener, PACTI

Particulars of the victim: – Mr. Ketabul Seikh (deceased), son of Late Rustam Ali, aged about – 24 years, by faith-Muslim, by occupation- car driver, residence at village – Natatala, Post Office – Paharpur, Police Station-Lalgola, District-Murshidabad, West Bengal, India.

Particulars of the perpetrators: – (1) Mr. Debasish Sarkar, Mr. Debabrata Sarkar, Mr. Kajal Babu, Mr. Rontu Babu (Constable), Subhasis Ghosh and the other involved police personnel of Lalgola Police Station; (2) The Superintendent of Labagh Sub-Divisional Correctional Home, Lalbagh; (3) The Superintendent of Berhampore Central Correctional Home, Murshidabad and (4) The Superintendent of Alipore Central Correctional Home, Kolkata.

Date & time of incident: – On 09.08.2012 and subsequent thereafter.

Case Details:-

It is revealed during the fact finding that the victim belonged from a poor family. He was a part time truck driver. On 09.08.2012 he was arrested by the police personnel of Lalgola Police Station from Lalgola Bus Stand with other three men who were also come there for finding a suitable job for them. Thereafter all of them were taken to police station. Reportedly he was tortured in the police custody as well as by the police personnel led by Mr. Debasish Sarkar (Officer-in-Charge). He was implicated Lalgola Police Station Case No. 407/2012 dated 09/08/2012 under sections 397/411/413/ 414 of Indian Penal Code. On the same date the victim’s family members came to the police station but they were also threatened by the police personal. The police personnel physically tortured the victim in front of his family members and moreover the torture continued upon him whole night on that day.

On 10.8.2012 he was sent to Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate, Lalbagh Court with the other accused persons. His application for bail was rejected and he was sent to judicial custody at Lalbag Sub – Divisional Correctional Home fixing 18.8.2012 for his further production before the court. In the mean time the victim’s wife went to the said Correctional Home but she was informed that the victim was shifted to Beharampur Central Correctional Home. When the victim’s wife went to Beharampur Correctional Home with the help of her relatives she was informed that there was no such person in the victim’s name detained there. The victim’s wife was allowed to search the victim inside the said correctional home but she could not found her husband there. On 18.08.2012 the victim was not produced before the court.

On 19.08.2012 the victim’s family received information that he died at National Medical College & Hospital, Kolkata. On 20.8.2012 the family members of the victim went to the said hospital and received the body of the victim. The disposal certificate of the victim disclosed that the victim was detained at Alipore Central Correctional Home, Kolkata before his admission to the hospital. Beniapukur Police Station registered one unnatural death case vide Beniapukur Police Station Inquest no. 547/2012 dated 20.8.2012. The post mortem examination of the victim was held at the Police Morgue at N.R.S Medical College & Hospital, Kolkata. Though the victim died when he was still under judicial custody at Alipore Central Correctional Home, Alipore, Kolkata but no enquiry by any judicial magistrate was held on the custodial death of the victim in compliance of provisions of Section 176(1-A) of the Criminal Procedure Code. Our fact finding revealed that Mr. Amiya Kumar Lahiri, Assistant Commissioner of Police, ACP-1 of Kolkata Police was entrusted with inquest, which was against the law. The victim’s family did not get the post mortem examination report of the victim till date. On 31.8.2012 the victim’s family lodged written complaint before the Superintendent of Police, Murshidabad for enquiry into the custodial death of the victim but till date there has been no action.

ACP Vasant Dhoble: Safety cop or hoodlum in a uniform?

Jun 21, 2012



Republished from Mumbai Boss

If you ever chance upon a diminutive figure in Bandra who is talking to herself while reading a newspaper, that would be me. To preserve what little I know of the English language, I’d abandoned reading newspapers a couple of years ago. I’ve recently restarted and these days, I try to read between three to four dailies. I’ve found the only way to make it through all of them is by pushing myself towards dissociative identity disorder; that is, by talking myself through the process of reading the reports. It’s a bit like being both the horse and Robert Redford in The Horse Whisperer. I get stared at a lot as a result, but there is the occasional silver lining. For example, this week, thanks to Vasant Dhoble and Mumbai’s middle classes, I won a bet against myself.

Assistant Commissioner of Police Vasant Dhoble heads the Social Service Branch of the Mumbai Police. For those who were unaware of the SS Branch till Dhoble entendres filled their virtual world, it is one of the most coveted departments as far as the city’s policemen are concerned. Its official responsibility is to prevent the city from sinking into moral turpitude, which translates to the possibility of bribes from a wide range of citizens, from street side sellers of pirated DVDs to owners of swanky nightclubs. Not that Dhoble sir, whose preferred weapon is a hockey stick, is looking for a bribe. Consider Dhoble’s fine career record for a moment. In the past, he’s been booked for a custodial death, “kept out of active posting” for his violent behaviour and in 2008, when Dhoble was working for the Crime Branch, he managed to lose 12 files that had information on Dawood Ibrahim’s gang. Isn’t this just the kind of guy who makes you feel warm and fuzzy and safe when you’re on Mumbai’s roads?

Assistant Commissioner of Police Vasant Dhoble heads up the Social Service Branch of the Mumbai Police. IBN-Live Screengrab

At present, Dhoble is in the news not for his earlier feats but because he’s been labelled as the murderer of Mumbai nightlife. His mission to harass both drinking establishments as well as those who frequent them has infuriated sections of the middle classes who figure that as citizens of a democracy, they have the right to go to a bar without being labelled pimp or prostitute.

While Dhoble has shown up at various places in recent times, hockey stick and video camera in hand, his actions became front-page material once again last week when it was reported that he made Café Zoe pay a fine because it was violating a law from 1960 that is supposed to prevent overcrowding. The newspapers and the Internet were awash with outrage (even the Shiv Sena’s mouthpiece Saamna got into the act). Reading the articles, most of which were examples of how not to report a story, I asked myself, “What’s the bet that in a couple of days, there’ll be pro-Dhoble campaigns?” Myself replied, “What nonsense.” I had the last laugh.


The support came from unexpected quarters. Journalist Samar Halarnkar on Twitter may have been the inspiration: “So, bombay [sic] is outraging over Vasant #dhoble. Except he’s only enforcing foolish laws.” Soon enough, columnist Harini Calamur suggested Dhoble was just “a cop doing his job” and enforcing laws that were meant for our safety. The H-West Federation, which represents residents of Bandra, Khar and Santacruz (West), passed a resolution in support of Dhoble. “He is only doing his duty,” said the chairperson of the Federation. Blogger Gayatri Vishwanathan wrote, “If everything is ‘right’… no mai kaa lal can accuse you of doing anything ‘wrong’.”

The fact that the justification for Dhoble’s actions and attitudes is the law is something by which I’m both appalled and amused. Because when you roam around Mumbai, the only laws you see being broken are the ones about overcrowding and the possession of alcohol permits, of course. And how cutely naïve is Vishwanathan’s faith in the system!

The city’s cops have never had a reputation of being clean. It’s perhaps naïve to expect those who must work with and against politicians, the underworld and terrorists to preserve a secure status quo to also be upstanding citizens. But to justify their behaviour by describing them as law-abiding is ironic, to say the least. It’s as though Dhoble is a remote-control cop, with the controls being in the hands of The Law. As though the police never, ever do anything that’s illegal.

Arun Ferreira, one of the more articulate victims of police brutality, must be making things up when he says the police tortured and arrested him despite there being no evidence that Ferreira was a Naxalite. They went to the extent of lying in court in order to justify their custodial treatment of Ferreira. So much for being bound by law and doing one’s job.

Frankly, being of a vaguely anti-social disposition, whether or not Mumbai’s nightlife gets murdered is of little consequence to me. As long as the state doesn’t go dry, I’ll be nursing my drink and my multiple personalities at home, thank you very much. However, Dhoble’s brazen behaviour is alarming, regardless of whether or not you’re a party animal. He makes obvious a truth that the more affluent middle classes are usually shielded from: that the police are not necessarily your go-to guys in times of need. Whether your watering hole is a club in Lower Parel or a dive in Bhayander, the odds are now even and if the police pick your spot as their playing field, you’re no longer safe. In Dhoble’s actions lies the message that the police won’t shy away from flexing their muscles. They’ll just be enforcing the law; not vicitimising people or framing innocents.

This article republished from Mumbai Boss was written by Deepanjana Pal


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