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Opinion

Murder accused in Chhattisgarh allegedly dies after police torture

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A junior engineer with the Department of Electricity, who was one of the defendants in a murder case, died of police torture in the Surajpur district, 330 kilometers north of Raipur, the family alleged Wednesday.

Police denied the allegations as unfounded and said the engineer died in hospital due to a heart attack.

The junior engineer, Punam Katlam, was stationed at the Latori Substation of the Surajpur Electricity Department and was one of three accused in a murder that took place on 22 November.

Police said the engineer along with three others killed a Harish Chand Rajwada (24) on November 22 after a fight over an issue.

“On November 23, when we started the investigation, we learned that Katlam and four other people, including Rajwada, had been drinking at the murder site. When we started questioning Katlam, he said that he felt uncomfortable and was therefore immediately transferred to the hospital in the evening. On the morning of November 24, Katlam had a heart attack when he went to the bathroom together with another person, ”said Surajpur Police Superintendent Rajesh Kukreja.

However, the family alleged that Katlam was detained by the Surajpur police and severely beaten.

“There are wound marks on my brother’s body, suggesting torture after he was detained by the police,” said Deepak Katlam, who is also a police officer.

Deepak demanded a high-level investigation into his brother’s death.

Kukreja refuted the allegations and said the wound marks were due to the fight that took place during the Harish Chand murder.

“They had a great fight with wooden sticks during the fight with Harish Chand,” said SP.

The SP further said that the police have asked the district judge to launch a judicial investigation into the matter after the family’s allegations.

“We want transparency on the issue, so we request a judicial investigation,” added SP.

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