Six police personnel, including an SHO, were suspended and three of them booked for murder for their alleged roles in the custodial death of a 22-year-old man here, officials said on Saturday. One of the booked policemen, a sub-inspector of Gilaula police station in the district, has been arrested, said Shravasti Superintendent of Police Anoop Kumar Singh.

He said a case under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act was registered last month against Wajid Ali (22) for allegedly harassing a girl. Ali was taken into police custody on Friday for questioning but his body was found hanging later in the toilet of the Gilaula police station, he added.

The SP said the father of the deceased alleged that his son was illegally kept in police custody for two to three days and the policemen indulged in corruption for his release. Singh said Station House Officer Vinod Kumar, three sub-inspectors and two other police personnel have been suspended.

On the complaint of the father of the deceased, a case of murder and illegal custody has been registered against the SHO and two other policemen, he said. “An officer of the rank of deputy SP will be probing the incident. District Magistrate has also ordered a magisterial probe in this matter, Singh said.

Later in the evening, the SP said, “One of the named accused in the custodial death of the youth, a sub-inspector has been arrested. The matter is being expeditiously probed.” The brother of the deceased told reporters that “to release him (Ali), Rs 50,000 was paid to the SHO. But he was demanding an additional Rs 2 lakh.” He also said some people beat up Ali over a land dispute and then called police to arrest him.

Meanwhile, on Saturday afternoon the head of UP unit of SP’s backward cell, Rajpal Kashyap, who was going to meet the aggrieved family, was stopped by police in Ekauna and sent back to Lucknow. Rajpal Kashyap told reporters that SP party workers were going to meet the aggrieved family, but were arrested by the police. He also claimed that police cane charged SP workers who were undertaking peaceful protests.

The SP, however, said no SP worker was arrested. “The SP workers were going as per their pre-decided programme, but they tried to move towards Darjipurva. Because of the COVID-19 infection and law and order, they were sent back to Lucknow,” he said.This story first appeared in “News 18” on September 5, 2020 here