Suspected thief dies in police custody, kin allege torture

Suspected thief dies in police custody, kin allege torture

A 24-year-old suspected thief died in police custody in Sampigehalli, northeast Bengaluru, early on Sunday.

Ramappa alias Ramesh, from Chikkaballapur district, was picked up by police near Nagavara signal on Saturday night after he reportedly tried to run off with the mobile phone of a person.

Pravin, a resident of Sampigehalli, was near the Nagavara signal around 9.30 pm when Ramappa approached him with a request to lend him the phone to make an “urgent” call. Pravin obliged him. But Ramappa tried to run off with the phone.

Pravin raised an alarm, and a crowd went after Ramappa. The suspect panicked and climbed a hoarding pole. Police reached the spot after being informed, and managed to talk Ramappa into climbing down.

He was later brought to the Sampigehalli police station, and booked for snatching the mobile phone. Ramappa complained of uneasiness and was taken to the general hospital in Yelahanka around 11.30 pm.

The duty doctor said his basic parameters were “normal” but he was under the influence of alcohol. Ramappa was brought back to the police station and kept in the lockup.

At 1.45 am, he complained of uneasiness again and was taken to the nearby Sai Clinic. But since the ECG facility was not available there, he was shifted to Regal Hospital but it was too late. He died on the way.

Ramappa’s parents alleged that he had succumbed to custodial torture, and demanded a probe into his death. They said two constables had interrogated Ramappa and he had vouched for his innocence.

The incident embarrassed the police top brass which was quick to hand it over to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID). A CID team visited the police station, and questioned local police officers as well as Ramappa’s family. A CID officer said the cause of death would be known once the probe got over.

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