Odisha Sun Times Bureau
New Delhi/Bhubaneswar, Mar 11:
The National Human Rights Commission has directed the Odisha government to pay an additional compensation of Rs 2 lakh to the next of kin of deceased Basant Pradhan, a victim of custodial torture at the Bolangir police station in 2014.
Disposing of the petition filed by rights activist Jayanta Kumar Das, the apex rights body directed the state government to pay the family of the victim Rs 2 lakh over and above the compensation already paid to them.
Besides, the Commission also sought a report on the departmental action initiated against the erring police personnel.
Notably, the state government has paid Rs 3 lakh to the widow of the victim.
It may be recalled that the deceased—Basant Pradhan—was picked up by Bolangir police with the help of Titlagarh police on June 10, 2014 on charges of buying a stolen mobile phone. After interrogation, he was released from the police station. However, he fell sick after he was released from the police custody.
As his condition deteriorated, he was admitted to the hospital where he was declared dead by the doctors soon after his admission on June 28, 2014.
Following Basant’s death, enraged locals went on a rampage and ransacked the office of the Sub Divisional Police Officer (SDPO). The mob also set afire police vehicles, files and documents and motor bikes kept in the malkhana, damaged computers and furniture demanding the arrest of policemen responsible for the alleged custodial death.
Initially, the state government was mulling a Crime Branch probe into the incident but later the HRPC was assigned the job of investigating the case.
On June 21 last year, the NHRC had issued a show-cause notice to the state government why a monetary compensation of Rs 5 lakh should not be recommended to be paid to the next of kin of deceased.