A 40-year-old man arrested on charges of raping a minor girl was allegedly found hanging with a bedsheet inside the lock-up of Samaypur Badli police station following which a constable has been suspended, police said on Sunday.
The man, Dharmendra, who was in jail in a case of murder-cum-robbery was released on parole in March this year. But due to the successive lockdowns amid COVID-19, his parole period got extended. He is a resident of Bulandshahr in Uttar Pradesh but was presently staying at one of his relative's house in Delhi, they said.
Constable Yashveer, who was posted in sentry duty in Samaypur Badli police station where the man was found hanging, has been placed on suspension for the negligence, police said.
The family members of the man alleged that police thrashed him inside the lock-up and also forced him to consume liquor. Police, however, refuted the allegations.
According to police, the matter came to notice on Saturday, when a complaint was received against Dharmendra at Swaroop Nagar police station alleging him of entering a neighbour's house and raping a 14-year-old girl who was alone at her house while her mother, a labourer, was out for work.
Based on her complaint, a case under Section 376 (punishment for rape), 506 (punishment for criminal intimidation) of Indian Penal Code and provisions of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act was registered.
The accused was arrested after he was found hiding at the house of his relative, police official Gaurav Sharma said.
After being arrested in connection with the rape case, the accused was lodged in a lock-up of Samaypur Badli police station since there is no lock-up in Swaroop Nagar police station, he claimed.
On Sunday, the accused hanged himself with a bedsheet tied around the bars of the lock-up gate. He was immediately rushed to a hospital but was declared brought dead by the doctors, the officer said.
The Metropolitan Magistrate has been informed regarding the incident and proceedings are being carried out as per law. CCTV footage has also been preserved to facilitate the enquiry, the police official said.
The police said the accused was previously convicted in a sexual assault case, wherein he entered the house of a 10 year-old boy and forcefully committed the act on him.
He had also been convicted in a case of murder-cum-robbery.
Dharmendra's lawyer Rakesh Kaushik said he was in jail for the last five-six years in connection with a case of murder but was out on parole in the last five months.
He said, "The man was brought to Swaroop Nagar police station by police personnel for questioning but around 11.30 pm, his relatives got a call asking them to visit Dharmendra at the police station. The family has alleged that the victim was tortured and beaten up inside the lock-up and was also made to consume alcohol."
But on Sunday morning, his family was informed that he died by suicide inside the lock-up at Samaypur Badli police station, the lawyer said.
Neeraj, one of Dharmendra's nephew, accused the police of thrashing his uncle inside the lock-up and also forcing him to consume liquor.
He said, "My uncle had come out on parole a few months back. Around 6.30 pm, an ASI from Swaroop Nagar police station arrived at our home and enquired about my uncle. Later, we were informed by police that our uncle was in Swaroop Nagar police station.
"Yet, when we reached there, we saw he was beaten up and even forced to consume liquor. But today morning, we were informed that he committed suicide in Samaypur Baldi police station."