2017 custodial death of woman at Dugri police station: High Court transfers case to CBI; hope for justice regains, says victim’s fiance : The Tribune India

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2017 custodial death of woman at Dugri police station: High Court transfers case to CBI; hope for justice regains, says victim’s fiance

2017 custodial death of woman at Dugri police station: High Court transfers case to CBI; hope for justice regains, says victim’s fiance

Forensic officials check the door of a washroom where the woman was found hanging at the Dugri police station in Ludhiana. - File photo

Tribune News Service

Nikhil Bhardwaj

Ludhiana, March 19

With the decision of the Punjab and Haryana High Court to transfer the investigation of the case pertaining to the alleged custodial death of 29-year-old Ramandeep Kaur in 2017 to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Mukul Garg, the fiance of the deceased, termed it a jolt to the Punjab Police unprofessional investigation, which failed to extend justice to the deceased and on the other hand, the court’s decision regained hope for him as guilty police officials cannot go scot-free now.

Sharing details with The Tribune here on Tuesday, Garg said he had filed a petition in the High Court in 2019 and the court after finding his allegations of unfair investigation carried out by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the Punjab Police now, ordered the CBI to re-investigate the matter.

He said the Ludhiana police had initially given a clean chit to the police officials and no case was registered against the negligent officers. It was only when on his petition, the High Court ordered SIT to probe the case and the latter had held the police officials negligent. Later on June 13, 2019, after two years of the custodial death, a case was registered against the police officials, identified as the then Dugri SHO inspector Dalbir Singh, ASI Sukhdev Singh and lady constables Ramandeep Kaur and Rajwinder Kaur under Section 304 A (causing death by negligence), IPC, and Sections 465, 468 and 471 of the IPC were added later.

The copy of the High Court order, which is with The Tribune, states: “SIT report itself records that the lady constables on duty had no satisfactory reply as to how and from where the knife came in

possession of Ramandeep Kaur, who was in police custody. Besides, all police officials have feigned ignorance about cut marks on the wrists of the deceased. It has come on record that on the wrist of

the right hand of the deceased, there were two cuts of around two inches and on the wrist of left hand of the deceased, there was one incised wound. These cuts on the wrists must have bled. It is surprising that none of the police personnel on duty noticed blood and cuts on the wrists of the deceased. The same have been brushed under the carpet only by saying that the lady constables were negligent. SIT was constituted under the orders of this court, report suggests that SIT fumbled somewhere. Report of SIT is discrepant on the vital link like possession of knife and its disappearing from the whole investigation after having been handed over by doctors who conducted the autopsy to Sukhdev Singh, police official.”

The court order further states: “True facts need to be unearthed through a committed, resolved and a competent investigating agency to retain public confidence. It’s a case of death in police custody. The state cannot be allowed to hide behind the plea of shifting stand of the petitioner. It cannot be a ground to deny fair investigation. Despite having been constituted under the orders passed by this court, SIT ignored vital questions which are necessary for fair investigation of the case. Further investigation be carried out and completed by the CBI as early as possible preferably in three months from the date of receipt of the certified copy of the order.”

Notably, Ramandeep died in police custody during investigation of an FIR registered in August 2017 against her and her fiance for cheating, theft, forgery, criminal conspiracy and other offences under Sections 379, 420, 465, 467, 468, 471, 201 and 120-B of the IPC at the Dugri police station. On August 3, 2017, officials posted at the police station entered the house of his (Mukul) paternal uncle and took them to the police station. On the night of August 4, 2017, both were beaten up and tortured. As a result, Ramandeep died in police custody. She was found hanging inside the washroom of the police station.

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#Central Bureau of Investigation CBI #Custodial Death #human rights

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