Delhi High Court seeks police response on woman's plea seeking CBI probe into son's murder in Tihar Jail a day before his release

The Delhi High Court has sought the response of the Delhi Police in a plea seeking transfer of investigation to the CBI into the alleged killing of a 32-year-old man in custody in Tihar Jail a day prior to his release as per the order of the High Powered Committee (HPC) amid the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The present plea has been filed by his mother seeking CBI investigation and accusing Tihar Jail Deputy Superintendent R.N. Meena of being behind the alleged murder. The matter was listed on Wednesday before the bench of Justice Rekha Palli who directed SHO, Delhi Police to file a status report regarding the investigation of custodial death.

The petitioner/mother of the deceased/Shrikant @ Appu has submitted that her son was taken into custody on 13/09/2019, in FIR No. 178 of 2019, 179 of 2019, and 180 of 2019 under section 392/397 IPC, 392/397/34 IPC, and 235/186/34/332/307 IPC read with 25/27 Arms Act subsequently. Since then he was in judicial custody. As per the order of the HPC which was constituted pursuant to the Order of the Apex Court to release the undertrials amid the COVID19 Pandemic, he was about to release May 15. But on May 14, the son of the petitioner was brutally murdered by the jail staff/authority. She has also alleged that her son always complained of ill-treatment by jail staff/authorities. 

The petitioner has further submitted that through the reliable sources she has got to know that Deputy Superintendent, Tihar Jail is the main conspirator in the alleged murder of her son.

The plea said, “Justice A.S. Anand stated in the case of D.K. Basu Vs State of West Bengal that custodial death is one of the worst crimes in a civilised society governed by Rule of Law. Does a citizen shed off his fundamental right to life, the moment a policeman arrests him? Can the right to life of a citizen be put in abeyance on his arrest? The answer, indeed, has to be an emphatic “No.”

Further, it stated, “that Article 14 and 21 of the Constitution of India has a wider aura and the custodial violence and another police brutality negates it. Custodial Violence casts serious doubts about the transparency, accountability, and functioning of the police hierarchy and goes against the basics of ethics, culture, and human rights jurisprudence. Custodial deaths violate not only democratic fabric and human rights aura but badly undermines the rule of law and constitutionalism as envisaged in our supreme law of the land.”

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The petitioner has sought the following directions;

1. Issue a writ of or in the nature of mandamus for transfer of the pending investigation in FIR No 243 of 2021 dated 14.05.2021 to Central Bureau of Investigation;

2. Issue direction to preserve the CCTV footage of the relevant time;

3. Issue or pass a writ, direction or order, which this Hon’ble Court may deem fit and proper to grant compensation to the deceased’s mother.

The matter is listed for further hearing on July 8.