Vegetable seller accused of theft, beaten to death

Vegetable seller accused of theft, beaten to death

Victim's friend also thrashed badly, culprit arrested

A vegetable vendor was beaten to death and his friend was severely injured when security guards posted at the Azadpur Sabzi Mandi caught them on the suspicion of stealing apples from the market.

On Thursday morning, family members of the victim and local residents staged a protest and alleged police inaction in the case.

Sanjay, 25, who was a resident of Jahangirpuri used to sell vegetables in Azadpur Mandi. His friend Mukesh, 20, is also a vegetable seller. They both also worked as contract labourers for extra money.

“On Wednesday night, the duo had gone to the market, where they started uploading and unloading of boxes of fruits and vegetables from trucks. Around midnight, when the duo was returning from the market for their house, two security guard spotted the duo walking in the dark, and questioned them about the reasons of roaming in the late night,” said a police officer investigating the case.

The guards then allegedly caught the duo and thrashed them mercilessly for half an hour, before taking them to the room of caretaker of a booster pump situated nearby.

“In the room, caretaker Sanju took off the victims’ clothes and tied their limbs before beating their bare bodies with sticks and belt,” the police officer said. They were also kicked and punched, police said.

“Prima facie it seems that the duo was mistaken to be apple thieves by guards at Azadpur wholesale market,” said Vijay Singh, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Northwest).

Sanju, who was allegedly drunk when he beat the two men, dozed off after he got tired thrashing the duo.

“On Thursday morning, when Sanju got up, he saw the two men lying on the floor unconscious. He immediately called up police and informed them that he had caught two thieves who were stealing apples from the market,” Vijay Singh added.

When police reached the caretaker’s room, they found the two victims’ tied up. Police took both of them to the nearby hospital where doctors’ pronounced Sanjay dead on arrival. Mukesh is still fighting for his life. Police have arrested Sanju, and are questioning him about the incident.

Police are also searching for the guards who beat the victims on Wednesday night. A case of murder has been registered.

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