HCseeks Delhi govt, police stand on plea for SIT probe into death of farmer on Jan 26 tractor rally

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New Delhi, Feb 11 (PTI) The Delhi High Court on Thursday sought response of the AAP government and police on a plea seeking a court-monitored SIT probe into the death of a 25-year-old man who died after his tractor overturned during the protesting farmers' tractor rally on Republic Day.

Justice Yogesh Khanna issued notice to the Delhi government, Delhi Police, Uttar Pradesh Police and the Chief Medical Officer of District Hospital at Rampur, where the post mortem was carried out.

The court sought their stand on the petition moved by the deceased Navreet Singh's grandfather who has claimed that the victim has suffered gunshot injuries to his head.

The court directed the Delhi Police to file a status report with regard to the investigation on or before the next date of hearing on February 26.

Delhi government standing counsel Rahul Mehra, appearing for the police, told the court that according to instructions received by him, Singh died as result of over-turning of his tractor at ITO here during the violent clash between farmers and the police personnel.

He said that a general FIR in relation to Singh's death has been registered at I P Estate police station.

Advocate Vrinda Grover, appearing for the victim's grandfather, told the court that the way Delhi Police has conducted itself in the matter 'does not inspire a shred of confidence'.

She said that the police abandoned all procedures, like carrying out inquest proceedings, conducting a post mortem and lodging of an FIR, as required under the law, even if it was a case of accidental death.

She said that the victim's grandfather took the body back to their native place in Uttar Pradesh where the post mortem was carried out.

The police, instead, seized all the CCTV footage from the area, including from cameras which were closest to the incident site, and only selectively released video recorded from far.

It also released a statement to the media, on the evening of January 26, saying that the farmer died due to overturning of the tractor without even carrying out a probe, she told the court.

Grover told the court that according to a UK-based pathologist, who saw the video of the incident and also perused the post mortem report, the injuries on the victim were consistent with at least one or two gunshot wounds.

She argued that this indicated that the victim lost control of the tractor and it overturned as he was shot by the police personnel.

The petition has sought directions to Delhi Police to share with the petitioner the CCTV footage recovered from the incident site.

It has also sought directions to the UP police to share with the petitioner the FIR lodged there in connection with the death of the young farmer.

A direction has also been sought to the Chief Medical Officer of District Hospital at Rampur to provide the petitioner with a copy of the victim's x-ray report and also the video recording of the post mortem.

“The petitioner's grandson was lying in a critically injured condition under the overturned tractor, however, despite the presence of a large number of police men including senior police officials in the vicinity, no attempts were made by Delhi Police to provide immediate critical medical intervention to save the life of the petitioner's grandson.

“Instead, the Delhi Police resorted to tear gas shelling to prevent other protestors from reaching the site where the tractor lay with the petitioner's grandson's body underneath. No efforts were made by the Delhi Police to cordon off the site of the incident and to collect time sensitive material evidence from the site, which was allowed to be erased and destroyed,” the petition has claimed. PTI HMP RKS RKS