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High Court orders report of the magisterial inquiry for Puri custodial death case

Sarat Kumar Rayguru, a Puri-based lawyer filed a petition in court claiming relief in the form of compensation and penal action against police officers allegedly involved in causing custodial death of K.Apana alias Ramesh in Puri on November 18, 2020.

The case was first heard in Judicial Magistrate First Class (JMFC), then it moved to District Court and now High Court where a bench of Chief Justice S Muralidhar and Justice K.R.Mohapatra are hearing the case and have demanded a  report of the magisterial inquiry conducted into the alleged custodial death.

Along with that, the Human Rights Protection Cell (HRPC) of the state police and National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) are also involved in the probe.

As an interim relief for the victim’s family the Chief Minister Relief Fund will give out compensation of Rs.5 Lakhs to the kin of the deceased.

The demand for compensation arose out of the allegation that the deceased was cremated on November 19 without handing it over to the family members or allowing them to see it. However, in a counter affidavit Puri SP Kanwar Vishal Singh claimed that inquest of the body of K Apana alias Ramesh was held in the presence of  an executive magistrate, father of the deceased K Gurumurty and paternal uncle K Areya.

It was further argued in the counter affidavit that it is not a case of custodial death as the police had not arrested the deceased on November 18, on receiving information about presence of Ramesh who was a hardened criminal, police had attempted to apprehend him, leading to a chase. The police never tortured the deceased. However, these claims remain disputed.

Lastly, the court has demanded a fresh status report to be submitted by the superintendent of police.

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