Unidentified police officials in Uttar Pradesh were booked in connection with the custodial death of a man who reportedly died after being summoned for interrogation in a bank robbery case, IANS reported on Wednesday. The family of the businessman, Satya Prasad Shukla, has alleged that he died on Tuesday due to police torture in Amethi district.

A first information report has been filed against the officials at the City Kotwali police station in Sultanpur district after Shukla’s family protested along with residents in the area.

Shukla and his sons were brought to the police station on Monday night for questioning in the bank robbery case that involved the theft of Rs 26 lakh from a bank employee in Peeparpur area of Amethi, according to PTI. Another report suggested that the theft was carried out when bank officials were transferring the money in a van on October 5. Police had interrogated the man twice before in the case.

Shukla, a resident of Antu area in Pratapgarh district, allegedly consumed poison and died while receiving treatment in the hospital. His son claimed that Shukla took the poison after being tortured.

Superintendent of Police Khyati Garg said a top-level departmental investigation, led by Additional Superintendent of Police Dayaram, was initiated. “All those who are found guilty will be punished as per the rules,” Garg told PTI.

However, the officer refuted torture charges or allegations that Shukla was forced to ingest the poison. “We had sufficient ground for Shukla’s detention and interrogation as he was suspected of tipping off his other accomplices about the cash movement,” she told IANS. “Moreover, he had a criminal background. He was also associated with dreaded criminal Zakir Ali alias Guddu.”

Dayaram on Tuesday had rebutted the charges of police torture. “When [the] police had gone to question the accused person in the case pertaining to the loot of Rs 26 lakh, he went inside his house and consumed poison,” he said.

Shukla’s family claimed the officials from Peeparpur police station in Amethi barged into their house around 3 am on Tuesday. Shukla’s sons, Sahil Shukla and Rahul Shukla, were also taken by the police without giving any reason to the family, said Satya Prasad Shukla’s brother Om Prakash.

A magisterial inquiry has also been ordered in the case, an unidentified official said on Wednesday. Sub-divisional magistrate Yogendra Kumar, who is leading the investigation, was asked to look into the case from all angles, said District Magistrate Prashant Sharma.

Police said no external injury was seen on the man’s body, according to the postmortem report.

Meanwhile, Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said that the Bharatiya Janata Party government in the state had been indifferent to such incidents. “Uttar Pradesh Police is generous to criminals but has expertise in harassing citizens everyday,” she tweeted.

Samajwadi Party President Akhilesh Yadav called for an unbiased investigation into the case. “The allegations of the family members of Satya Prakash Shukla that he was administered third-degree torture should be probed in an impartial manner,” he said. “Otherwise, the remaining trust of people in the BJP government will also vanish.”

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