Undertrial Raju Roy, 30, died in the custody of railway police on Friday. Three days have passed but his body has not been handed over to his family.
Raju, picked up on charges of stealing railway property, died at Medical College and Hospital on December 14. On Monday, wife Gouri claimed that the police had refused to hand over the body to her unless she stated in writing that her husband was a drug addict and was ailing when he was arrested six days ago.
Howrah Jail superintendent N.K. Barua, however, said the body was not being handed over because of a “confusion” over the name. “Raju told the RPF after his arrest that his name was Raju Sheikh. When Gouri claimed the body, she said her husband’s name was Raju Roy. How could we hand over the body without verification? She will get the body on Wednesday,” said Barua.
He claimed that Raju had a history of drug abuse and that he was unwell when he was brought to jail.
“My husband was okay when the RPF arrested him on the night of December 12. When he was produced in court the next day, I saw injury marks all over his body. The police had tortured him in the lock-up and left him to die,” alleged Gouri.
When she went to the jail on Friday afternoon — she did not know that Raju was in hospital — officers told her that he was dead. “I was asked to give an undertaking that my husband used to take drugs and that he was suffering from various medical problems when he was arrested. When I refused they said they would not give me the body,” Gouri added.
Sources said the RPF arrested Raju at his Sankrail home and handed him over to the GRP. The next day, he was sent to judicial custody for a week. Raju was taken ill in the Howrah Jail and was admitted to the district hospital. He was later shifted to Medical College and Hospital, where he died on Friday.
Human rights activist Arun Pal said the jail authorities should have arranged for a medical check-up for Raju if they knew he was ailing.