Inspector-general of police, Bhagalpur zone, Jitendra Kumar has recommended immediate arrest of then station house officers of Jamui and Gidhaur police stations for undertrial Munna Singh’s custodial death in July.
Kumar, who was assigned the custody death’s investigation, gave Jamui superintendent of police (SP) Dipak Barnawal a clean chit in the case.
The inspector general (IG) has asked Jamui SP Jitendra Rana to ensure the arrests of then Jamui police station house officer (SHO) Jitendra Kumar and Gidhaur SHO Satyabrat Bharti. The two SHOs, who had been put under suspension, are reportedly absconding.
Kumar also ordered that if the officers are not arrested, Jamui police should attach their properties.
Munna Singh, suspected of involvement in the abduction of Navinagar cloth merchant Baikunth Barnwal, surrendered in the court of Jamui district and sessions judge Jyoti Srivastava on June 20. The police took him on remand from June 20-22 and reportedly tortured him. When his remand ended, an injured Munna was shifted to Jamui jail on June 22. Prisoners raised a hue and cry. The Jamui district and sessions judge and chief judicial magistrate rushed to the jail to record an injured Munna’s statement and subsequently ordered an FIR against the policemen.
Munna was admitted to Patna Medical College and Hospital in a critical condition on June 23 and succumbed to his injuries on July 1.
Tracing the cellphones of the Jamui and Gidhaur police SHOs, the Bhagalpur IG found that Jamui SHO Jitendra Kumar took Munna to Gidhaur police station on June 20 and detained him there till June 22. At Gidhaur, Jitendar and Gidhaur SHO Satyabrat Choudhary allegedly applied third-degree torture on Munna before sending him back to Jamui jail.
During the probe, the IG found sufficient evidence against the two SHOs. IG Kumar told The Telegraph: “On the basis of evidence, I have asked Jamui SP to ensure the SHOs’ immediate arrest.”’ He further said he found no evidence against then Jamui SP Barnawal and his bodyguard. Also, there were some earlier cases against the SHOs but none against Barnawal. “Since Munna’s kin suspected Barnawal, I investigated the episode very minutely but did not find any evidence against him,” the IG said.
Munna’s family has welcomed the IG’s decision and hope justice would prevail. Munna, who worked at a private company in Barchu town of Gujarat, was visiting his native village in May for treatment. His family members said he was falsely implicated by an accused in the abduction case, Dabloo Mishra, a resident of Navinagar in the district. Munna surrendered in court and the police forcibly tried to extract his confession, which ultimately caused his death, the sources alleged.