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Autopsy of scrap dealer who died in the custody of Sinthee police blames heart failure

Death in police custody: Two bruises, but not fatal

By Monalisa Chaudhuri in Calcutta
  • Published 27.02.20, 2:37 AM
  • Updated 27.02.20, 2:37 AM
  • a min read
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The report also mentions two fresh external injury marks — one on the skull and the other on the elbow — but none of them was bad enough to cause death, sources said on Wednesday. (Representative picture from Shutterstock)

The post-mortem report of a scrap dealer who died in the custody of Sinthee police earlier this month mentions “cardiac failure” as the immediate cause of death.

The report also mentions two fresh external injury marks — one on the skull and the other on the elbow — but none of them was bad enough to cause death, sources said on Wednesday.

Rajkumar Shaw was called to the police station for questioning after a theft case suspect had allegedly named him as the “receiver” of the stolen items on February 10.

Shaw, 53, started feeling unwell at the police station and was admitted to the RG Kar Medical College and Hospital, where he was declared dead.

Allegations of torture and police excesses followed.

A case was drawn against three officers of Sinthee police station and a departmental inquiry initiated against them based on a complaint lodged by Shaw’s family.

One of the officers, who was heading the probe into the theft case, was suspended for alleged dereliction of duty.

Calcutta High Court directed the police to submit the post-mortem report and “action-taken report” after a public interest litigation was filed against alleged excesses.

The report was submitted in court on Wednesday.

Sources said the report purportedly referred to Shaw’s medical history, which included some previous ailments.

“The report says the immediate cause of death is cardiac arrest. It also refers to an earlier history of ailments in the victim’s cardiovascular and renal system,” a source said.

Shaw, according to the report, had a three-inch-by-two- inch bruise on his left elbow and a one-inch-by-half-inch bruise on the left side of the skull.

“Both injuries were fresh, ante-mortem in nature and caused by blunt trauma,” the source said. The report also mentioned that these injuries were not sufficient to cause death.

The condition of other body parts such as brain, mouth and nasal cavities, bladder, urethra, pelvic cavity tissues and genital organs were found to be intact, a source quoted the report as saying.

In keeping with the guidelines of the National Human Rights Commission in case of alleged death in custody, a special magisterial inquest was carried out by a board of three doctors at the RG Kar Medical College and Hospital in the presence of a lawyer designated by the deceased person’s family, sources said.

The entire procedure was recorded on video.

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