Monday, November 12, 2007

Lock-up death under probe

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Gangtok, Nov. 11: A magisterial inquiry has been ordered into the death of Bikram Bishwakarma, 28, who was found hanging from a ventilator inside the lock-up at Singtam police station yesterday.

Two police personnel including a sub-inspector Tseten Bhutia, who was the officiating duty officer, and a non-commissioned officer, Surendra Thapa have been suspended.

Bishwakarma had been arrested on Friday under theft charges and kept in police custody at the Singtam police station. He was reportedly caught red-handed by members of the taxi association in Singtam while stealing a stereo, sound boxes and some audio cassettes from a vehicle.

The youth had been beaten up before being handed over to the police. He was charged under Section 379 of the IPC for theft. A resident of Shantinagar in Singtam, Bishwakarma was reported to be a drug addict.

Yesterday morning he was found to be hanging from a ventilator of the toilet which is attached to the lock-up. The youth had used the nylon from his underwear to hang himself from the iron bar of the ventilator.

The body has been sent to the district hospital at Singtam for post-mortem.

While investigations so far have hinted at suicide, a magisterial inquiry has been ordered since deaths in police custody warrant such a probe under Section 176 of the CrPC.

District collector (East) Vishal Chauhan today said additional district collector (East) Navin Chettri has been entrusted with the inquiry into the incident and has been told to submit his report by November 14.

Simultaneously an inquest is also being carried out by the subdivisional magistrate (Gangtok) A.B. Karki. Both the reports will be submitted to the state home department.

“The Sikkim police as required under law has made a requisition to the district collector (East) for inquest and magisterial enquiry,” said superintendent of police (East) M.S. Tuli.