Zepto employee’s death: Court says police planted eyewitness and broken piece of car bumper

Observing that police planted a witness along with pieces of evidence to solve the hit-and-run accident that left a 19-year-old Zepto delivery staffer dead in Dwarka, a court has said that “sadistic pleasure is derived by men in uniform from converting a bailable offence into a non-bailable offence as per their whims, fancies and pleasure.”

On May 16, the victim, Karan Raju, was on his bike when a car hit him at Dwarka Sector 10 and fled from the spot.

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DCP (Dwarka) Shankar Choudhary had said, “It was a blind case. There were no eyewitnesses or CCTVs near the spot. The only clue was a broken part of the bumper of the offending vehicle. We visited all spare part dealers and workshops in Southwest Delhi. The accused, Sudhakar Yadav, a resident of Dwarka Sector-18, was traced and arrested. His Tata Nexon car was seized. Yadav was booked under IPC sections 279 (rash driving) and 304-A causing death by negligence. Section 304 (punishment for culpable homicide not amounting to murder) will be added based on any possible legal merit.”

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In his order, Additional Sessions Judge Lokesh Kumar Sharma said, “The SHO of Dwarka (South) police station was asked to explain under what circumstances he had advised the investigation officer to invoke IPC section 304 (part II). In his reply, he informed that he took charge as the SHO of the police station concerned on May 18, when the FIR was registered at 11.50 pm. It has also been stated that though the accident took place on May 16, the victim died on May 18, before registration of this case itself.”

Section 304 (part II) is invoked when police believe the accused had knowledge that death may be caused by his act, as opposed to 304 (A) which is death by negligence.

ASJ Sharma stated, “It is surprising to note, as to when the factum of death of injured was already within the knowledge of the IO concerned, then why he did not register the FIR under proper sections initially. It has been stated further by the SHO that on May 19, after a day of registration of the FIR, an eyewitness met with police, who disclosed that the offending vehicle was a Tata Nexon and its driver was heavily intoxicated while committing the accident. In the intensity of the collision, the bumper was damaged and was recovered from the spot. Linking the broken piece of the bumper, they traced and arrested the accused and impounded the offending vehicle.”

“Due to this conduct of the accused, who concealed his vehicle and was under the influence of liquor, IPC section 304 (part II) was advised by him (SHO) to be added in this case. A perusal of the FIR reveals that when the IO arrived at the spot, he had seen only the Scooty ZYPP electric, which was lying at the roadside after the accident. It has nowhere been mentioned by the IO in the FIR that he saw or seized any broken piece of the bumper of any vehicle whatsoever,” ASJ Sharma said in his order on May 30.

ASJ Sharma further said, “This fact itself is sufficient to hold that police later on planted an eyewitness along with a broken piece of a bumper of some vehicle, on the basis of which they claimed to have solved this case. No evidence is available on record regarding the accused under the influence of alcohol at the time of the commission of the alleged offence.”

“It simply shows that sadistic pleasure is derived by men in uniform from converting otherwise a bailable offence into a non-bailable offence, as per their whims, fancies and pleasure. However, while misusing the legal provisions to suit their convenience, they don’t even hesitate to play with the liberty of an individual citizen which otherwise is guaranteed to him by the Constitution of India, and most shockingly if this is happening in the capital of This nation, only God knows what will be the fate of a citizen’s liberty in other parts of the country,” he said.

“I am also constrained to observe here that these police officials do not even have a proper knowledge of criminal law, as IPC section 304-A talks about the death of a person resulting from a rash or negligent act, whereas, IPC section 304 ( Part II) categorically talks about the knowledge of a person while committing an offence, that by doing the said act, he is likely to cause death but without any intention to cause death. Hence, these two sections are step-sisters which cannot be invoked together as has been done in this case to deprive the applicant of his precious liberty guaranteed under the Constitution,” he said in his order.

The court has sent the copy of the order to Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla and Delhi Police Commissioner Rakesh Asthana for their perusal and to initiate necessary action against the erring police official(s).

The ASJ also noted: “I am further constrained to observe here that incidents of this nature, atrocities at the hands of police and torture of innocent people in utter violation of the principle of natural justice as well as provisions of IPC and CrPC, have gone steep high since the appointment of the current DCP of Dwarka district. Recently, the CMM took cognizance after police abducted a person from his house, who was later shown as captured after an encounter.”

“Not only this but also a coordinate bench of this court, while dealing with a bail application, was constrained to observe that exploitation of innocent people under the garb of fake encounters was now rampant in the area as five different people were shot by officials at the same part of their body in different incidents. This atrocious and illegal attitude and conduct on the part of police officials shows that either the DCP is not competent enough or lacks the capacity of administrative supervision and control over the district and to lead the police officials for implementation of the criminal law in its correct perspective, or he is actively involved in encouraging the police officials to indulge in such kind of illegal activities to the utter prejudice of the fundamental rights of the people of this nation,” he said.

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