Human depravity and divine justice : The Tribune India

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Human depravity and divine justice

Human depravity and divine justice

Photo for representational purpose only. - iStock file photo



Sankar Sen

WORKING in the police department can be satisfying as well as disconcerting. One witnesses cops displaying courage and honesty, while some others commit acts of depravity. I remember a case of police brutality. It was investigated by the Crime Investigation Department (CID) of the Odisha Police. I was then posted as the DIG, CID.

The incident took place at Mundaguda village in Koraput district. Saheb Rath, a bright student of the local high school, was arrested on the charge of stealing books of another student. His father, Parasuram Rath, was a small farmer.

The arrest followed a tiff between Saheb and a local sub-inspector’s son, who were both studying in that school. Though he and his father pleaded innocence, they were called to the police station for an interrogation. After preliminary questioning, the officer incharge let the father go but detained the son. The boy dared to ask the cop why he was being victimised.

The officer could not bear this affront. He started hitting the boy with a stick and then kicked him in the chest. The boy did not survive the torture. The scared officer went all out to conceal his crime. With the help of constables and Gram Rakhis, the boy’s body was taken to a nearby jungle and tied to an electric pole. A fake entry was made in the station diary of the police station that Saheb attempted to escape from custody. The officer went to the spot to hold an inquest, but irate villagers did not allow him to do so. One villager met the district magistrate and pressed for a judicial inquiry into this case of police torture. The subdivisional magistrate (SDM) was entrusted with the probe. Instead, he came to the rescue of the culprit.

In his inquiry report, the SDM stated that it was a case of suicide, not murder. But following an outrage in the media, the Crime Branch took over the investigation. Its probe revealed a number of ante-mortem injuries; there were swellings and abrasions on the body, caused by kicks and blows.

After the completion of the investigation, the cop was chargesheeted for murder. The conniving constables and Gram Rakhis were charged under Section 201 of the IPC for causing disappearance of evidence of the murder.

However, the sessions judge of Koraput acquitted the officer of murder and held him guilty of voluntarily causing hurt; he was given a lenient punishment of three months’ imprisonment. The other accused persons were exonerated of the charge of suppression/disappearance of evidence.

The state government, on the recommendation of the Crime Branch, filed an appeal against the judgment. We were hopeful that the sessions court’s order would be overturned by the high court. Meanwhile, the cop’s brother, who was helping him fight the case, met with an accident and died. Soon after, the cop suffered a cardiac arrest and passed away. The wheels of justice moved rapidly, thanks to divine retribution.


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