Probe ordered into murder convict`s death in Tihar

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.

PTI



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

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