The Telangana High Court on Tuesday, 21 February, asked the state government to file its response on the alleged custodial death of Mohammad Khadeer Khan, a suspect in a theft case.
The court, which took up the matter suo motu on 20 February based on the media reports, issued notices to the Chief Secretary, Director General of Police (DGP), Home Secretary, Medak Superintendent of Police (SP) and Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), and the Station House Officer (SHO) of Medak Police Station.
“I have complete faith in the Indian Judiciary system. I am sure that the culprit policemen will be punished by the court,” Farzana Khan (known as Siddeshwari before she converted and married Khadeer) told South First.
The deceased, 37-year-old daily wage labourer Mohammed Khadeer Khan, was laid to rest on Saturday in Medak after he succumbed to his injuries pertaining to an alleged third-degree torture on 16 February night in Gandhi Hospital.
The AIMIM, city-based activists, and local residents have demanded that the accused policemen be tried for murder, kidnapping, and torture.
What happened in court?
The Telangana government counsel argued that Khadeer died in the hospital 14 days after he was produced in court.
The high court, however, countered that it would inquire into the circumstances and factors that led to his death.
Meanwhile, four Medak cops were suspended on Sunday following a complaint lodged by Khadeer’s wife Siddeshwari.
The suspended policemen are Circle Inspector Madhu, Sub-Inspector Rajasekhar, and Constables Prashanth and Pavan Kumar, Medak SP Rohini Priyadarshini told reporters.
Meanwhile, the high court adjourned the case to 14 March.
‘Preserve and produce CCTV footage’
Hyderabad-based activists, who filed a petition in the high court on Sunday, appealed it to preserve and produce CCTV cameras installed in and around the Medak Police Station from 27 January (two days prior to Khadeer being picked up by cops for alleged chain snatching) to 3 February.
These places include the entrance and exit of the police station, its parking area, lobby, the lockup where Khadeer was kept for interrogation, storeroom, cabins of sub-inspectors and the SHO, the place from where Khadeer was detained from Hyderabad, and places where the team stopped while travelling from Hyderabad to Medak.
“This is because the police might try to tamper with the videos, which will act as evidence,” social activist SQ Masood, one of the eight petitioners, told South First while welcoming the court’s move.
.@KTRBRS, One Mohd Khadeer Khan-35 was picked up by Medak Police from Yakutpura,Hyd on 29th Jan as a suspect in a theft case & kept in illegal custody for 5 days tortured to third degree and later kept in house arrest denied medical help./1 @mahmoodalitrs @TelanganaDGP @spmedak pic.twitter.com/n7AgfAfVpU
— Amjed Ullah Khan MBT (@amjedmbt) February 9, 2023
The petitioners also demanded that the high court constitute a high-level independent enquiry committee for a free and fair investigation of the case
They also want the court to pass an order directing the State government to pay compensation of ₹25 lakh to the victim’s family and a government job to his kin.
‘Why did they admit him to hospital and pay for treatment’
After Khadeer was released on 3 February, his condition worsened. Due to this, the Medak police admitted him to a local private hospital and paid bills worth ₹2 lakh.
“When the police had nothing to do with the torture of Khadeer, why did they admit him to a private hospital in Medak and pay for his treatment?” a dejected Siddeshwari asked.
She added, “The police changed ambulances twice while bringing my husband’s body back to Medak. They also burned some documents. They must answer why they did this.”