Patna: We have often heard rumours of the police implicating unsuspecting minors in criminal cases just to show that they have ‘solved’ a crime. This story is different. Police from the Patna-city substation arrested a 14-year-old kid for motorcycle theft. This was in March. The boy was the son of a vegetable seller. The seller said that the boy had refused to give a cop a ‘gift’ of a jackfruit during the Holi season. Now the police version seems to have too many holes in it.
The matter would not have come to light had not Chief Minister Nitish Kumar got wind of the case and asked for a report within 48 hours.
Now, the high-level probe into the arrest of the 14-year-old vegetable seller of Patna has found holes ends in the police theory as well as the procedure.
First, the investigating officer submitted the charge sheet in the case (number 87/18) lodged with the Bypass police station in Patna City sub-division without the supervision of the deputy superintendent of police. In fact, the police came to the boy’s house and picked him up, but the police records showed he was spotted on the Bypass road behaving in a suspicious manner.
Second, the family members claimed the boy was taken into custody from his rented house in Chitragupta Nagar on the evening (around 7 pm) of March 19, while the police records showed he was arrested on March 21 (4 am). The family says that the boy was illegally detained at the police station for two days and beaten by the cops before he was sent to jail along with two others in the motorcycle loot case.
Third, according to the Aadhar card, the boy was born in 2004 and is a minor. He should have been sent to the remand home and the case referred to the juvenile justice board. The police, however, treated him as major (above 18 years of age) and was subsequently sent to judicial custody in Beur Central Jail. The boy had no criminal antecedents.
The boy’s parents claimed he was implicated in the case for his refusal to give jackfruit to police personnel after Holi, free of cost. The cops posted at Agamkuan police station strongly denied having ever visited the victim’s vegetable stall. The CCTV installed at a nearby sweets’ shop at Chitragupta Nagar has already ‘lost’ the video footage.
The holes surfaced during a preliminary inquiry conducted by inspector-general (Patna zone) Nayyar Hasnain Khan on Friday. Khan with deputy inspector-general (central range) Rajesh Kumar visited the victim’s house at Chitragupta Nagar soon after an in-camera recording of the statement of his father Sukan Paswan and mother Gudia Devi.
The IG later visited the Beur jail to verify the records of the boy. He also inquired about the conduct of the boy from the prison department officials. Unconfirmed reports said the IG talked to the boy and two others booked in the motorcycle loot case. The Agamkuan police had also implicated the minor boy in two other theft cases.
The IG is learnt to have summoned then DSP of Patna City Hari Mohan Shukla and another police officer Vikas Kumar, who is currently posted as superintendent of police of Katihar. In addition, the station house officer of Agamkuan police station, Mundrika Prasad, and the investigating officer of the case have been directed to depose before the IG to record their statement on Saturday.
[from media reports]