AGRA: The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has ordered a Crime Branch, Crime Investigation Department (CB-CID) probe into the alleged custodial death of a 30-year-old man in Etah district in 2014. The commission has sent a notice to the chief secretary, home secretary and DGP of UP police, directing that the investigation should be conducted by an officer not below the rank of additional superintendent of police (ASP).
The complaint filed by an Etah-based RTI activist Sunil Kumar in 2014 to the NHRC mentioned that victim Balakram, a resident of Mainpuri district who used to work as a labourer, was on his way to a local market on July 12, 2014, when police intercepted him and took him into custody for his alleged involvement in a “loot” case. He was later allegedly thrashed to death at Aliganj police station.
The postmortem report revealed that there were “abrasion and abraded contusions on his elbow, buttock and knee joints. No poisonous substance was detected in the viscera”. Later, the autopsy report and the FSL report stated the cause of death as “shock due to ante mortem external injuries.”
An enquiry into the incident leading to the death of Balakram was conducted by Etah ADM. The enquiry magistrate recorded statements of police officers, autopsy surgeons, independent witnesses, family members, etc. Balakram’s family members had alleged that he was picked up by police, but the enquiry magistrate concluded that he was beaten up by the public and no cop was involved.
Sunil Kumar, who had been regularly pursuing cases of human rights violation in Etah district, told TOI: “Police were unable to prove Balakram was guilty of any criminal activity. In four FIRs registered against unknown persons, his name was added as an accused. However, in none of these cases a charge-sheet was filed.”
Kumar added: “The police linked Balakram’s death to a case of loot with two persons travelling on a bike. The case was registered against three unknown men. One of the accused, which police claimed to be Balakram, was caught by the villagers. Later he was beaten to death by unknown people.”
NHRC in its order has mentioned six specific points considering the fact that the man died due to “external injuries”. The commission’s order mentioned: “Police could not trace the other two co-accused in this case; nothing has been mentioned about any recovery of stolen properties; CD of postmortem examination has not been provided by the authority concerned; family members alleged that Balakram was picked up by police; there was no criminal records against him; seized arms and ammunition were not sent for forensic examination.”
NHRC stated that “the investigation division has recommended by keeping in view the aforesaid observations that there is apparent suspicion on the police version with regard to the death of Balakram, who was in their custody.”
Kumar added, “His family was informed about his death after the postmortem. Police have so far not been able to find the CD of his postmortem and provide it to the commission.”

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