Probe ordered into murder convict`s death in Tihar
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Last Updated: Saturday, December 10, 2011, 18:07
New Delhi: Delhi Police has been directed by a local court to probe the unnatural death of a murder convict in Tihar jail early this month, days before he was to be sentenced for the crime.

Additional Sessions Judge Kamini Lau asked police to probe the death of convict Shanker, found dead in his cell in the wee hours of December 1. According to the autopsy report, he died due to consumption of some poisonous substance or drugs.

"I direct the Additional Commissioner of Police (West) to immediately get the matter probed through a senior officer after registration of an FIR under appropriate provisions of law at the police station concerned," Lau said, adding the circumstances of the death appear suspicious.

While ordering probe into the death, which occured nine days ago, the judge also apprehended that essential evidence might have been destroyed by this time.

The court said Shanker's death in jail has raised several questions and their answers can be found only after a detailed investigation, which is essential and obligatory.

"As per postmortem report, there is a possible ingestion of poisonous substance/drugs causing aspiration of gastric contents leading to asphyxia. The question which arises is that how such poisonous substance could reach Shanker who was housed in jail. Or is it a case of smuggling of such articles in connivance with officials?," the judge asked.

The court also questioned as to why the relevant police station - Hari Nagar in West Delhi - had "registered no FIR under appropriate provisions of law till date."

Noting that the convict's autopsy report showed he was taking anti-depressants," the court asked, "Since when was Shanker on anti-depressants and what were the medicines which were being given to him by the doctors and who was monitoring his treatment?

Wondering how a prisoner can have access to such medicines whose consumption can be fatal for him, the court asked if it was a case where he was taking some other drugs which were unauthorisedly reaching him.

It also asked if someone was deliberately administering some poisonous substance to him.

Shanker was held guilty of murdering his wife's paramour, in collusion with two others, who, however, were acquitted by the court.

The court had also heard arguments on sentencing the convict.

The judge sought a report on his death from the jail superintendent. As the jail's report failed to satisfy the court, it sought his autopsy report from the Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Hospital, which had conducted his postmortem.

"I may observe that Shanker had been held guilty of the offence of murder and was in confinement only on account of the court order making his safety and welfare during the confinement, a responsibility of the state that is the prison authorities and the court," the judge said.


First Published: Saturday, December 10, 2011, 18:07

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