Torture officer in public line of fire

Patna, Feb. 2: Removed from his post last week for allegedly torturing a youth, former Sheikhpura superintendent of police (SP) Babu Ram would now have to take on a pressure group floated by residents demanding a CBI probe into the case.

A group of Sheikhpura residents has formed the front, Sarvadaliye Sangharsh Committee, to exert pressure on the government to hand over the torture case to the CBI and initiate disciplinary action against the 2009 batch IPS officer, who was posted as the SP after his predecessor Ansuiya Ran Singh Sahu was put under suspension.

The Sarvadaliye Sangharsh Committee (all parties struggle committee) held its meeting at the district headquarters town today to chalk out a strategy to launch concerted agitation to bring the erring cops to book and deliver justice to the victim's family. "The agitation will start from tomorrow and continue till the case is brought to a logical conclusion," said Jitendra Nath, a veteran communist.

Babu Ram was accused of allegedly inflicting third degree torture on 20-year-old Mukesh Kumar in the former's residence-cum-office on January 24.

The activists of the committee demanded a CBI probe into the incident, as an IPS officer was involved in it. "No action has been taken against the SP even after a high-level committee comprising an IAS and an IPS officer submitted its report to the government. The SP should immediately be arrested and put behind bars," said another leader of the committee, Shiv Kumar Singh.

On the other hand, the dharna launched by the residents of Toye (the native village of Mukesh) and its adjoining villages continued even today. They have been staging dharna in front of the Barbigha police station since the incident came to light on January 25 when the victim was shifted to Patna Medical College and Hospital in a critical condition from the Sheikhpura Sadar Hospital.

The protesters have been demanding arrest of Babu Ram, who was removed from the post on January 28 and asked to report to the state police headquarters. Taking serious view of the matter chief minister Nitish Kumar instituted a high-level probe by additional director-general of police (headquarters) Ravindra Kumar and the inspector-general of police (Prison and correctional services), Anand Kishor.

The probe team submitted its report to the home department on January 30. When contacted, home department principal secretary Amir Subhani said the report was under the consideration of the state government. "The report of the probe team has reached us and it is being examined at the government level," he told The Telegraph.

A case was also lodged against the former SP, liquor trader Mantu Singh and others on the basis of Mukesh's statement. The 20-year-old victim was shifted to All India Institute of Medical Science, New Delhi on January 31 for better treatment.

Babu Ram's predecessor, Sahu, a 2006 batch IPS officer, was suspended and departmental proceedings initiated for allegedly patronising the stone quarrying mafia last year.

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