The Karnataka State Human Rights Commission on Wednesday has recommended that the Criminal Investigation Department launch a probe into the alleged police brutality that led to the death of an under-trial prisoner, Fairoz, in January earlier this year. The death of 19-year-old Fairoz had raised suspicion about whether he was tortured inside the Parappana Agrahara Central Prison in Bengaluru, where he was lodged.
The KSHRC Chairperson, Justice DH Waghela, has also recommended that the Karnataka government pay a compensation of Rs 10 lakh to Fairoz's family.
"The state government should entrust the investigation into the criminal case in respect to the death of Syed Fairoz to the Criminal Investigation Department for carrying out further and proper investigation under the supervision of an officer not below the rank of SP for expeditious filing of investigation report in the court," Justice Waghela noted in his order, while referring to the inordinate delay in the investigation carried out by the Parappana Agrahara Police officials.
What happened to Fairoz?
Syed Fairoz, a 21-year-old man was lodged in the Parappana Agrahara Central Prison in Bengaluru in January 2018. Fairoz was under trial for the possession of marijuana. On January 19, Fairoz was rushed to the prison hospital as his right leg had developed an infection.
On January 21, when his condition worsened, he was taken to Victoria Hospital in Bengaluru and on January 23, he succumbed to his injuries. The autopsy report revealed that the cause of death was assault and that his right leg had developed gangrene and had turned septic.
"Patient experienced multiorgan dysfunctional syndrome, disseminated intravascular coagulopathy (DIC) with acute kidney injury (AKI). Patient went into septic shock with DIC and AKI," the autopsy report revealed.
Dr Suresh, who conducted Fairoz's autopsy, mentioned in his report: "The histopathology report stated that the death was due to septicaemia consequent upon injuries sustained. However, I am of the opinion that pneumonia and acute respiratory distress syndrome could have caused secondary complications of the injuries that were found over the body of the deceased."
After his death, the Parappana Agrahara Police filed an unnatural death report. However, when the news of Fairoz's death was reported in the media, an inquiry headed by a magistrate was lodged.
The magisterial inquiry, which went on for over three months, concluded that Fairoz was beaten by prison officials, refused treatment and his condition was neglected.
"The inquiry was also slow because of the elections and officers were getting transferred. But the conclusion was that Fairoz may have been murdered and the magistrate inquiry suggested that the police register a case of murder and probe the case further," a senior police official said.
After months of delay, the inquiry concluded in April this year and the Parappana Agrahara Police registered a case of murder and criminal conspiracy against the prison officials. Fairoz's brother Syed Tabrez, who submitted a sworn affidavit to the KSHRC, had expressed apprehension that the Parappana Agrahara Police were delaying obtaining witness statements and that the names of the accused prison officials were not mentioned in the FIR registered on May 16. Although the prime suspect is prison warden Jabbar Patel, his name does not appear in the FIR, which was noted by the KSHRC.
The KSHRC obtained statements from Somashekar, the Chief Superintendent of the prison; Nandeesh, the officer heading the magistrate inquiry; and Syed Tabrez, Fairoz's brother. The KSHRC concluded in its order that the case should be handed over to the CID for a speedy investigation and that the family should be compensated due to the negligence of government servants.
Read: Did police brutality result in the death of an undertrial prisoner in Bengaluru?
Read: 'Fairoz was beaten, cops refused treatment': Brother of Bengaluru undertrial who died