| Sheikhpura superintendent of police Babu Ram |
The state government on Monday shunted out Sheikhpura superintendent of police (SP) Babu Ram, taking a strong note of the alleged “third degree” torture on 20-year-old Mukesh Kumar in the district.
Ram has been directed to report to the state police headquarters. Meenu Kumari, additional superintendent of police (ASP) at Kahalgaon in Bhagalpur district, has been made the new Sheikhpura SP.
Chief minister Nitish Kumar recalled Ram following a meeting with the principal secretary of the state home department, Amir Subhani, and director-general of police Abhayanand, on Monday morning. He also transferred all the 14 policemen, including the station house officer, of Barbigha police station in Sheikhpura district, arou- nd 100km southeast from Patna.
Mukesh, whose condition was said to be stable on Monday, was intercepted within the jurisdiction of Barbigha police on Thursday night. He was allegedly tortured at Ram’s official residence at the behest of his former employer Mantu Singh because he asked for his dues. Mukesh was admitted to Patna Medical College and Hospital (PMCH) the next evening.
Taking strong exception to the alleged incident, Nitish directed a senior secretary-level IAS officer and an additional director-general (ADG) rank IPS officer to probe into the matter jointly and table the report within 24 hours. ADG (headquarters) Ravinder Kumar and inspector-general (prisons) Anand Kishore (an IAS officer) have left for Barbigha for the investigation.
Jeetendra Kumar, the zonal IG of Bhagalpur, told The Telegraph that an FIR had been lodged at the Barbigha police station on the basis of the statement of Mukesh, the victim.
“His statement was recorded in Patna. An FIR has been lodged against Mantu Singh, the (outgoing) SP and some unnamed persons. They have been booked under sections 341 (punishment for wrongful restraint), 323 (punishment for voluntarily causing hurt), 324 (voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons) and section 34 of the IPC,” Jeetendra said.
Sheikhpura district is under the jurisdiction of Bhagalpur IG.
Doctors attending to Mukesh in the intensive care unit (ICU) of PMCH claimed that his condition was stable. But they refused to show his medical reports.
Dheeraj Kumar, a relative of Mukesh, said the youth was still in a state of shock and was in pain.
“A tube has been attached to his stomach. He is finding it difficult to speak but has given his statement to the police. The doctors are not talking to us,” Dheeraj said.
The Telegraph tried to talk to Mukesh, but he could only say that the police had come to see him. “The police were here and I have told them whatever they did (Sheikhpura cops) with me,” he said.
“Last (Sunday) night, Patna senior superintendent of police Amrit Raj came down to the hospital and recorded Mukesh’s statement. ADG Ravinder Kumar and IG (prisons) Anand Kishore met Mukesh on Monday morning and recorded his statement again. It is quite clear that he was tortured brutally, resulting in the rupture in his intestines,” he added.
Mukesh’s father Mithilesh Singh is a farmer and a resident of Toyi Village in Sheikhpura. His mother Suranju Devi is a homemaker.
His wife Nandini is expecting. Sources said Mukesh gave up the job at Mantu’s liquor shop after his marriage in April.
Barbigha’s JD(U) MLA Gajendra Shahi alias Munna Shahi said he had visited the family of Mukesh.
“The family is very poor. Mukesh’s kin requested for better treatment. I will request the state government to shift him in some better hospital in or outside the state if required,” the MLA said.
“Though the legislator said he would try to ensure Mukesh received proper treatment, there has been no financial help from the government as of yet. We are poor people. Mukesh will need expensive medicines. How will we buy them?” asked a relative of the victim.
He added: “Several politicians came calling after the incident became public. Lalu Prasad came on Sunday. Several others turned up on Monday. But then it seems all about politics.”