Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, June 21:
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has issued a show-cause notice to the Odisha government as to why a monetary compensation of Rs Five lakh should not be recommended to be paid to the next of kin of deceased Basanta Pradhan, a victim of custodial torture at the Balangir police station.
The national human rights watchdog has directed the chief secretary to respond to its notice in this regard within six weeks.
Adjudicating separate petitions filed by advocate Prabir Kumar Das, rights activists Manoj Kumar Jena and Jayanta Das and others, the NHRC issued show-cause notice to the state government.
The NHRC has stated that the report received by it from the additional ADG Human Rights Protection Cell of the state government said that during investigation, sufficient evidence has been collected to establish the complicity of the accused persons in the aforesaid offences.
Further, the supervisory officer has opined in the report that it is a true case under sections 120B/341/342/343/323/330/348/302/34 of the IPC against the then Inspector In charge of Bolangir Town police station Tareuqe Ahmed, Anant Kumar Pradhan and Malay Kumar Panda (both sub inspectors of police), Dilip Kumar Dang assistant sub inspector, Vrindavan Meher constable and Saroj Kumar Naik, homeguard/driver all of Bolangir Police Station, the NHRC said in its notice.
The Commission’s notice said: “The Commission has carefully considered the report. It is a case of death in police custody. Admittedly, the deceased was taken to the Titlagarh police station by the police personnel of the said police station on the allegation of his stealing a mobile phone. After that, the condition of the arrestee became serious so he was taken to Government Hospital for treatment where he was declared dead.”
“The allegations made by the complainant in his complaint dated 29.6.2014 that the deceased was tortured by the police is now admitted in the report of Addl. DG, HRPC. Therefore, the State of Odisha is strictly liable to pay necessary compensation to the family of the deceased. The Chief Secretary to the Government of Odisha is directed to show cause u/s 18 (a) (i) of the PHR Act, 1993 as to why a monetary compensation of Rs.5,00,000/- (Rupees Five Lakhs) should not be recommended to be paid to the next of the kin of the deceased prisoner within six weeks”, the NHRC’s notice said.
The national watch dog’s notice to the state government has further said that the reply should also indicate the progress made in the arrest of the accused persons involved in the crime and it be also intimated what departmental action was taken against the erring police officials.
It may be recalled that a local of Hatapadapada in Titlagarh, Basant Pradhan was picked up by Balangir police with the help of Titlagarh police on June 10 on charges of buying a stolen mobile phone handset. Basant’s family had alleged that he was released by Balangir police on June 15 after being subjected to severe torture while in custody.They alleged that Basant had remained unwell since then.
Basant was declared dead by the doctors soon after he was taken to the hospital for treatment on June 28 last year after his condition aggravated.
Following Basant’s death angry locals ransacked office of the Sub Divisional Police Officer (SDPO) setting fire to police vehicles, files and documents and motor bikes kept in the malkhana, damaged computers and furniture demanding the arrest of policemen responsible for his alleged custodial death.