Calcutta, Aug. 18: Calcutta High Court today censured police for committing excesses on a detainee, who committed suicide, and ordered the state government to pay Rs 1 lakh as compensation to his widow.
Thirty-three-year-old Abhijit Sinha had jumped in front of a running train near Dum Dum station on July 7, 2002, after he was picked up from his residence at midnight on July 5 and interrogated through the night by a deputy superintendent of police for his alleged links with Naxalite outfits.
“My husband was tortured by police physically and mentally during interrogation and he ended his life as he could not bear the insult,” his widow Manashi contended in her petition.
A division bench of Justice A.K. Ganguly and Justice Tapan Dutt observed that the police had committed “excess” after picking up Abhijit from his flat in Dum Dum and ordered the state government to pay the compensation within a fortnight.
The judges, however, made it clear no further investigation was needed in the case. Manashi had sought a CBI inquiry.
“Rs 1 lakh compensation is nothing. We want a more stringent punishment against policemen responsible for Sinha’s untimely death,” Manashi’s lawyer Aloke Mitra said, adding they would move the Supreme Court.
Mitra said police had picked up Abhijit after finding his phone number in the possession of a People’s War Group activist and tortured him brutally. His client moved court as the police declined to take action against the officers responsible for the death of the junior customs officer.
On the contrary, the government claimed before the court that Abhijit had developed “good relations” with the activists of the People’s War Group who had “waged war against the state”. It contended the police had done its job and Abhijit’s death was an “unfortunate event”.
Manashi had moved the division bench against an order of a single bench of Justice A. Kabir, who had dismissed her plea for a CBI probe.
The division bench passed the judgment today after hearing all parties, including advocate-general Balai Ray.
While the matter was being heard by the trial bench, Ray had admitted that a one-man commission set up by the state government had also observed that the police had committed excesses in Abhijit’s case.
But he did not say what action his government was going to take against police officers against whom the allegations were made.