Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Aug 16:
Over a year after it began its inquiry into the incident, the Human Rights Protection Cell (HRPC) of the Odisha police today arrested a Sub Inspector (SI) in connection with the alleged custodial torture of one Basant Pradhan of Titlagarh leading to his death.
While one of the accused SI—Malay Panda—was arrested today, three other accused policemen– the then Inspector-in-charge (IIC) of Bolangir Town police station Tareuqe Ahmed, Assistant Sub Inspector (ASI) Anant Kumar Pradhan and ASI Dilip Kumar Dang have been absconding.
Following the incident, the cops were placed under suspension and cases under the relevant sections of IPC were registered against them.
On July 7 last year, HRPC had begun its inquiry into the incident at the Bolangir Town police station.
Notably, the IIC of Titlagarh Town police station was also suspended after the incident.
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 was sick when 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 last year.
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 this year, the National Human Rights Commission (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. The Rights watchdog had directed the Chief Secretary Gokul Chandra Pati to respond to its notice within six weeks.