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New Delhi : The National Human Rights Commission ( NHRC)  has issued a notice to the Director General of Police ( DGP),  Maharashtra, after taking suo motu cognizance of media reports that on November 6, 2017, police personnel beat to death a young man in custody at Sangli city police station and burnt the body  to destroy the evidence.

The DGP has been given four weeks to submit a detailed report in the matter. He is also expected to clarify why police failed to inform the Commission about this custodial death despite the standing guidelines to report such incidents within 24 hours of the incident, according to an NHRC release.

The Commission has observed that the contents of the media reports, if true, are disgusting. The law enforcing agencies are for the protection of the people.  Anyone who is a suspect of a crime, if taken into custody by police, is expected to be protected by his custodian. The gruesome act committed by police personnel is the worst example of cruelty and lawlessness amounting to violation of Right to Life of the victim, it said, according to the NHRC release.

As per news report, carried on November 9, 2017, one person was robbed of Rs 2,000 and his mobile phone at knife point by two persons.  Within 24 hours of the crime, police arrested two suspects.  Both of them were produced before the local court on November 6 and were remanded to police custody for three days.  In the night of November 6, both of them were reportedly taken from the lock up to the detection branch room where one of them was hung upside down from a ceiling fan forcing his head in a bucket of water.  He was, allegedly, beaten up so badly that he died in front of the other accused.

The body of the deceased and the other accused were then taken to the Civil Hospital and the doctors were reportedly told to give a favorable report. As the doctors refused to toe their line, the policemen took Kothale’s body along with the other accused to Ambaghat area in a private car. In the morning of November 7, the other accused was kept at some spot near Krishna River and the body of the deceased was set afire at another spot by the police personnel by pouring kerosene. The body reportedly did not burn completely and they poured some petrol on it and burnt it again.

The Deputy Superintendent of Police, Sangli, came to the police station in the early hours of November 7 and found both the suspects missing from the lock up. He  was told that during night, the accused escaped from the custody.

Later in the day, one Sub-Inspector told his seniors that they have nabbed one of the accused and the search is on, for the other.  The family of the deceased started protest in front of the police station claiming that the victim has been beaten to death by police in their custody. After an inquiry by the senior officers, it was confirmed that one of the accused had died in police custody and five accused policemen, along with other accused, were arrested on the charges of murder and destroying evidence.  The state Crime Investigation Department (CID) has reportedly initiated a probe into the matter, according to the NHRCrelease.

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