The Delhi High Court on Thursday directed the police to submit a status report on a petition seeking a court-monitored Special Investigation Team inquiry into the death of a man during the farmers’ Republic Day tractor rally, Bar and Bench reported.
The police have claimed that 25-year-old Navreet Singh, who was from Uttar Pradesh, died after his tractor overturned at Delhi’s ITO area. His family, on the other hand, alleged that he was killed in police firing. The petition seeking an SIT inquiry into Singh’s death was filed by his grandfather.
Advocate Vrinda Grover, appearing for the petitioner, told the court that two witnesses had seen Singh get shot. Citing expert opinion, she said the lacerated wounds on Singh’s body were consistent with bullet injuries.
The lawyer said that the police left the spot after the incident. She added that Singh’s family took his body back to Rampur in Uttar Pradesh, where the postmortem was done. “The report has been examined by both national and international experts,” Grover told the court, according to Live Law. “The Guardian’s report quotes international doctors who said that Singh’s report showed at least one gunshot wound through the head.”
Grover added, “A forensic expert who examined the report said the only possible explanation was that Navreet was hit by two bullets. The expert said, margins are inverted when the force is from outside to the inside. Both the injuries are inverted, have the same size as well.”
The lawyer told the court that the Delhi Police did not file any first information report in connection with Singh’s death or provide him immediate medical assistance. “Even if it was a road accident, no inquest has happened,” she added. Grover said the police had reached a “hasty, prejudicial and unsubstantiated” conclusion about the cause of Singh’s death, according to Bar and Bench.
The lawyer said that footage from CCTV cameras near the site of the incident needed to be preserved. She added that there were several camera angles to be viewed, but the police were releasing only selective footage to support their claim.
Grover argued that Singh’s grandfather should be given a video of the postmortem as well as a copy of his X-ray report.
Rahul Mehra, the standing counsel for Delhi government, told the court that the police had no difficulty in sharing the required documents. However, he asked for more time to submit the status report.
The Delhi High Court also issued a notice to Rampur district hospital’s chief medical officer and the station house officer of Bilaspur police station. The matter will be heard next on February 26.
The farmers’ tractor rally on Republic Day turned chaotic after a section of protestors deviated from the routes agreed to with the Delhi Police. Prominent farmer unions and leaders distanced themselves from the violence, and blamed it on certain “anti social elements”. The Delhi Police have arrested more than 100 protestors in connection with the violence.