|18. Dec, 2006.
Ex-ACP sentenced to death for custodial killing
1987 case: Shopowner died a day after he was tortured at Vivek Vihar Police Station; SI, another ACP also convicted
NEW DELHI, DECEMBER 15 Nineteen years after a shopowner allegedly died following his torture in police custody, a fast-track trial court here today awarded the death penalty to the then Delhi Police ACP (East District), R P Tyagi, who has since retired. Co-accused retired ACP K P Singh and Sub-Inspector Tej Singh were sentenced to one year and three-year imprisonment respectively. A fine of Rs 25,000 has also been imposed on the duo for dereliction of duty and tampering with records.
The prosecution had charged ACP Tyagi under Sections 120 B (criminal conspiracy) 342 (wrongful confinement) and 302 (murder). Two other police officers, SI Tej Singh and ACP K P Singh, were charged with conniving with Tyagi and destroying evidence. While Tej Singh has been sentenced to three years’ rigorous imprisonment, K P Singh was handed a one-year prison term. While the former is still in service, the latter has since retired.
Handing down the death sentence and a fine of Rs 50,000, Additional Sessions Judge Rajender Kumar today said the facts of the case indicated it was one of those “rarest of rare’’ cases which merited the death penalty.
The case dates back to August 1987, when Mahender Kumar, who had a garments shop in east Delhi, was arrested along with Ram Kumar, who is reported to be a small-time crook, on charges of teasing a girl. The duo were reportedly tortured at the Vivek Vihar Police Station.
The prosecution alleged that Tyagi, who was in overall command of the police station area, made no efforts to stop the custodial torture. It also alleged that the arrests and questioning of the men was illegal and on trumped-up charges.
According to the prosecution, Mahender and Ram Kumar had a fight with a constable posted at Vivek Vihar Police Station on August 16, 1987. The police filed an assault case against the duo and put pressure on their families to get them to surrender, after which they were taken to the police station and assaulted. A day later, they were found lying in the nearby fields. While Mahender died in hospital, Ram Kumar survived.
A magisterial inquiry was ordered and a case of custodial death registered. Ram Kumar became a witness in the case related to Mahender’s torture and death. Ram Kumar claimed that he was under threat and feared for his life. In May 2000, his body was found near the railway tracks in Ghaziabad.
The case was heard in the sessions courts earlier and was transferred to the fast-track court as the trial period had exceeded the specified seven-year limit. The fast-track court found Tyagi guilty. The court also rejected Tyagi’s mercy plea on the ground that he was a 65-year-old man and had already undergone two cardiac surgeries.Tyagi was held guilty under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code (murder), K P Singh was found guilty under Section 217 (disobeying a direction of law) and Tej Singh under Section 201 (causing disappearance of evidence).
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