Calcutta HC orders preservation of all evidence in alleged custodial torture case
Kolkata: The Calcutta High Court has directed the police to preserve the CCTV footage from the Golf Green Police Station, video recording of the autopsy carried out on one Dipankar Saha and call records of three Kolkata Police personnel accused of torturing him and hand over copies to the court.
A copy of the video recording of the autopsy will also have to be handed over to Phiroze Edulji, counsel of Dipankar Saha’s brother Rajib Saha, who moved a writ petition alleging custodial torture leading to death, before Justice Rajasekhar Mantha.
In the writ petition, Rajib Saha – an Opposition leader in West Bengal – claimed that the police in the state are operating as a parallel force of the ruling Trinamool Congress and prayed for a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the death of his brother, a resident of Azadgarh in south Kolkata.
The Kolkata Police has ‘closed’ three of its personnel, including a sergeant and a civic police volunteer in this case. A Special Investigation Team (SIT) has also been set up by the state.
According to the petitioner, he had organised a protest meet against the purported scam by Trinamool Congress leaders on July 27 and this irked the ruling party. Around 12.30 pm on July 31, policemen allegedly took away his 34-year-old brother Dipankar Saha from their house using force despite protestations by their mother Arati.
The policemen refused to produce an arrest warrant or any other document to justify his detention for ‘questioning’. Dipankar Saha, a small time trader, was allegedly tortured at an undisclosed location and returned home around 10 pm with bruises all over his body.
Thereafter, Dipankar Saha complained of uneasiness and visited a hospital but hid his scars as the police had allegedly threatened him if he dared to complain.
On August 4, he fell ill and was declared brought dead at the state-run M R Bangur Hospital. The autopsy report stated prima facie that Dipankar Saha had severe injuries on his body and had died due to internal organ failure.
The Kolkata Police have suspended the three accused — Sergeant Amitava Tamang, Constable Taimur Ali and Civic Police Volunteer Aftab Mondol — of the Golf Green Police Station and charged them under Section 304 of the IPC (Culpable Homicide not amounting to Murder).
On Thursday, the state counsel submitted in court that all evidence will be handed over to the court as directed.
Justice Mantha then directed the Central Forensic Science Laboratory, Kolkata, to complete its examination of the victim’s viscera and other samples within a week and submit a report to the SIT within a week.
The next date of hearing has been fixed for September 21 when the SIT will submit a report to the court on its progress in the investigation.