The 28-year-old man, identified by police only by his first name Ranjit, was spotted by officers on Monday not wearing a mask in the Jogi Navada area of Bareilly city, breaching strict rules for wearing face coverings outdoors that are in place across much of India.
On Wednesday, Ranjit told Indian media that the police punished him by hammering nails into his hand and leg, displaying the wounds.
Uttar Pradesh police have denied the allegations, saying that Ranjit had scuffled with a constable and fled the scene of Monday’s mask violation. They say a search was launched but he could not be found, until he resurfaced two days later making the allegations that he had been abused.
Rohit Singh Sajwan, senior superintendent of police for Bareilly told The Independent that an internal inquiry found his allegations were false, saying the man was known to be an alcoholic. The police took him to the district hospital, where he is undergoing treatment, he said.
He said the accused made the allegations in order to avoid being arrested, and that no case of misbehaviour by police has been established so far. Mr Sajwan said Ranjit would be produced before a court on Friday and that further investigation of the incident would be conducted.
The police also released two videos of the accused where he appears to be confessing to reporting a false story to evade arrest.
In one of the confession videos, released by Bareilly police and seemingly filmed in their custody, the accused can be seen explaining how he allegedly hammered nails into his own hands and legs.
It also quotes another man at whose house he took shelter after running away from the police.
The police officer said the accused was also arrested in 2019 in a case of damaging religious idols, under which was sent to jail and is currently facing trial.