The National Human Rights Commission has taken suo motu cognisance of media reports that a Dalit man died in police custody on Wednesday in Amroha district of Uttar Pradesh. The commission sought a report from the chief secretary of Uttar Pradesh and director general of police in connection with the matter within four weeks.

The police had picked up 30-year-old Balkishan for questioning on Sunday in connection with a vehicle theft case. He was later jailed, PTI reported. Police claimed that late on Tuesday night, Balkishan’s health deteriorated and he was taken to the hospital. But the doctors declared him dead on arrival.

The victim’s wife has alleged that he had died due to police beating. She also accused the police of demanding money from her for his release. According to the FIR, Balkishan’s family members sold their jewellery to give Rs 1 lakh to sub-inspector Manoj Upadhyay, the Hindustan Times reported.

Earlier this week, Amroha Superintendent of Police Brijesh Kumar Singh told PTI that six policemen were booked on charges of killing the man in custody. On a complaint filed by the victim’s relative, the policemen were also booked under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

“The Commission has observed that the contents of media reports, if true, amount to gross violation of human rights of the victim,” the NHRC said. The human rights panel asked to know why it was not intimated about Balkishan’s death in police custody in accordance with the guidelines on the subject. The report should also indicate whether any monetary relief has been provided to the victim’s family, the commission said.