HC issues notice on Delhi policeman's death

New Delhi, Jan 15 (IANS) The Delhi High Court Tuesday issued notice to the central government and Delhi Police on a plea seeking a CBI probe into the death of a constable during anti-rape protests here last month.

Justice G.P. Mittal, seeking response from the home ministry and Delhi Police, also issued notice to the Delhi government and asked them file their reply within a week.

Advocate Gaurav Kumar Bansal sought a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) inquiry into constable Subhash Chand Tomar's death Dec 25, alleging contradictions in the versions given by police, witnesses and doctors.

Tomar was taken to hospital after collapsing on a street near India Gate during the anti-rape protests Dec 23.

The plea said that the statement of the police commissioner is completely contradictory to the version of two witnesses - Yogendra and Pauline and the medical superintendent of Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital.

Police said Tomar was assaulted and trampled upon by the crowd protesting at India Gate against the Dec 16 gang-rape of a trainee physiotherapist. But two witnesses said that he collapsed while chasing the crowd and that he was not beaten or trampled by the protestors, the petition said.

However, police claimed that he was beaten and assaulted by demonstrators. Two of the protesters, whose assistance to the collapsed constable was filmed, denied the police charge and said he fell on his own while running.

On another plea filed by eight people arrested for the constable's death, the court asked the Crime Branch to direct mobile phone service providers to preserve records of Dec 23 related to the eight.

Advocate Somnath Bharti told the court that the location of the accused should be preserved immediately as mobile phone service providers preserve the data for only 30 days.

The court also asked the central and Delhi governments and Delhi Police to file their response by Jan 21. The matter was posted for Jan 29.

Meanwhile, the Delhi Police's Crime Brach filed its status report and sought more time saying the investigation in the death of constable is underway and at a preliminary stage and at "quashing of FIR at this stage is not justified".

"It is humbly prayed that reasonable time may please be granted to Crime Branch officials to examine the remaining data/audio video recordings and investigate the case thoroughly," said the status report.

It also said that a medical board has also been constituted to look into the aspect of cause of death of constable Tomar.

"Crime Branch has already collected video recording from DMRC, 35 CCTV cameras installed around India Gate.... and video recording done by different TV channels on Dec 23 around India Gate. We have analysed audio/video recording of 11 TV channels out of 16 recordings provided by different TV channels till date."

"Twelve more TV channels have still to supply their audio/video recordings," report added.

It further said that on Jan 10, DMRC has supplied audio recordings of CCTV cameras of Rohini West and Rajeev Chowk metro stations dated Dec 23 which are to be analyzed after the investigation is joined by the accused/petitioner Shantanu.

"In the data analysed so far some rioters are seen indulging in assault on police men and damage to public property around India Gate on Dec 23."

The court had Dec 24 granted bail to accused Kailash Joshi, Amit Joshi, Nafees, Shankar Bisht, Nand Kumar, Shantanu Kumar, Abhishek and Chaman Kumar.

After Tomar's death, they were booked for murder and the probe was handed over to the Crime Branch.

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