Jaipur, December 10: The Rajasthan High Court has ordered a re-investigation by a special team of Crime Branch of the police into the alleged murder of a 31-year-old Dalit man in a village in Bharatpur district, following allegations that the village panchayat members had forced the victim’s family to enter into a compromise with the accused and not pursue the case.
A group of eight persons had allegedly killed Mahesh in Nagla Machhaila village on June 25 this year after an altercation at a public water tank, where the victim had gone to take a bath, The Hindu reported. His body was later taken out from a well and sent to the Community Health Centre at Bayana for post-mortem.
Though a criminal case relating to murder and unlawful assembly was registered at Rudawal police station the next day, no accused has so far been arrested. The Investigating officer reportedly intends to file a final report with the finding that no case of murder was made out. The victim’s family has alleged that the police investigation was botched up.
Mahesh’s brother, Sunil Kumar, alleged in his writ petition moved in the High Court that the police were putting pressure on the family to reach a compromise with the accused. Even the panchayat leaders held a meeting and took a “unanimous decision” that the case would not be pursued and the family of the deceased would settle the matter with the accused.
Justice Sanjeev Prakash Sharma at the High Court’s Jaipur Bench observed that no accused person had been arrested despite being named in the First Information Report, even though eyewitness testimonies were available. “The Investigating Officer has not conducted a fair investigation and has attempted to save the culprits,” the court said.
The court directed the Director-General of Police to get a fresh investigation conducted by a special team headed by an Additional Superintendent of Police of the Crime Branch. “The [new] Investigating Officer shall collect the entire evidence and conduct probe independent of what was done earlier, and submit his report to this court within three months,” the court ordered.
The court also directed the DGP to take departmental action against the previous Investigating Officer — a sub-inspector — for his failure to perform his duty. Citing an instance of dereliction of duty, the court said the officer had failed to mention the panchayat’s decision of forcing the petitioners to take compensation in lieu of the death.