Law

Uttar Pradesh: Court Orders Probe Into 'Encounter Killing' of Man Arrested for Murder

"It is a matter of investigation as to whether the police team caused the death of Girdhari in self-defence or the team exceeded its power of self-defence," the court said.

Lucknow: A Lucknow court on Thursday ordered a probe into the death of a 40-year-old man in an alleged gunfight with policemen while trying to escape from their custody early this month after his arrest in a murder case.

Chief judicial magistrate Sushil Kumari asked the Hazratganj police to lodge an FIR over the alleged encounter death of Girdhari Vishwakarma on February 15, 2021, after his remand to the police custody by her court following his arrest.

Girdhari alias Kanhaiya alias Doctor was arrested for allegedly gunning down a gangster, Ajit Singh, in the city’s posh Gomti Nagar area on January 6, 2021.

CJM Kumari ordered the probe into the man’s death on a plea by advocate Sarvjeet Yadav, who had earlier represented Girdhari as his defence counsel following his arrest.

“There are clear guidelines of the Supreme Court that in a case of a police encounter, an FIR should be registered and the entire incident be probed to find out the truth,” the court said while ordering the probe on the advocate’s plea made under section 156 (3) of the Criminal Procedure Code. “It is a matter of investigation as to whether the police team caused the death of Girdhari in self-defence or the team exceeded its power of self-defence,” the court said.

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The court gave the order taking note of the presence of deputy commissioner of police Sanjeev Suman and Vibhuti Khand police station’s in-charge Chandra Shekhar Singh at the spot of the encounter.

In her order, the CJM said though the police lodged two FIRs over Girdhari’s bid to run away from police custody and opening of fire by him at the police, no FIR was registered to probe the incident of his death.

Earlier, in his application, advocate Yadav alleged that SHO Chandra Shekhar Singh and other policemen killed Girdhari under fool-proof conspiracy and prepared false documents to suppress evidence in the case. This all happened when Girdhari was in police custody on the basis of an order passed by the CJM herself, advocate Yadav pointed out.

Following Girdhari’s encounter death, Lucknow police commissioner D.K. Thakur had said three policemen too were injured in the incident.

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“At around 3:00 am, Girdhari Vishvakarma alias doctor (who was arrested earlier) was taken to Khargapur crossing along with the weapon used in the crime. When sub-inspector Akhtar Usmani was getting down from the vehicle with him, the accused hit him on his nose. The officer fell on the ground and the accused snatched his pistol and started running. The sub-inspector followed him but Girdhari hid behind bushes and started firing,” joint commissioner of police (crime) Nilabja Choudhury had said.

The incident was reported to the police control room and a team of deputy commissioner of police (east) reached the spot. “The police surrounded the bushes and asked Girdhari to surrender, but he continued firing with Usmani’s pistol. In retaliatory firing, a bullet hit the accused, and he fell down,” the official had said. The accused was taken to the emergency unit of Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, where he succumbed during treatment, he added.

Police commissioner D.K. Thakur had said sub-inspector Akhtar Usmani got injuries on his nose, a bullet touched the right arm of sub-inspector Anil Singh, while another bullet hit the bullet-proof jacket of inspector Chandra Shekhar Singh in the incident. All the injured police personnel were hospitalised and treated, he had said.

Ajit Singh (39), a notorious criminal of Mau district having 17 cases against him, was killed in a shootout between rival factions in Gomti Nagar on January 6, 2021, police had said.