Jaipur: A 35-year-old woman and her family members have alleged that a group of six policemen gangraped her when they had detained her illegally for about eight days in connection with a theft case. 

Police officials stated that the woman’s brother-in-law had been arrested on July 6 and had died the same night while in police custody. A judicial inquiry has been conducted by an additional chief judicial magistrate. 

The woman’s husband told reporters in Jaipur that the police had picked his brother up in a theft case, and along with him took the woman as well. He alleged that on the intervening night of July 6 and 7, police tortured his brother. “My wife who witnessed the torture was gangraped by the police, who also plucked her nails and wounded her eyes,” stated the woman’s husband. 

He added that even after the death of his brother, his wife was forcibly kept in police custody till July 10.

Following the allegations levelled by the woman’s family, the department of personnel issued an order late on Friday night, removing Churu superintendent of police (SP) Rajendra Kumar Sharma and putting him on ‘awaiting for posting’. The officer of the police circle concerned has been suspended as well.

Earlier, following the allegedly custodial death, the SHO of the police station concerned, along with one head constable and six constables, had been suspended by the SP.

Another of the woman’s brothers-in-law said, “On July 6, police briefly brought my brother to the village and told him it was the last time he will be seeing his family. After around eight days in police custody, when my sister-in-law came back home on July 10, her condition was very bad.”

The woman was admitted to a hospital in Jaipur on July 11, following which the family submitted a memorandum to authorities on Friday, demanding action.

While the family maintains that the man, who died in custody was picked up by the police on June 30, police say he was rounded up on July 3.

“On July 3, the local police received information that a suspected thief was caught by villagers in a nearby hamlet. On reaching the spot, they found this man, who had been beaten up by the villagers. He was brought to the police station, where police found that last year, he was named in an FIR for theft lodged by a man from his village. However, no charge sheet was filed in the case,” said Prakash Kumar Sharma, additional superintendent of police, Churu, adding that the man was sent home the same day, July 3.

“Local police say that on the evening of July 6, police went to his village and arrested him. Those posted at the police station have claimed that around 1.45 am, he fell sick and after he was taken to the hospital, the man died at 2.15 am,” said Sharma.

The additional superintendent of police added that the interim report by the medical board that conducted the post-mortem procedure termed the cause of death as cardiac arrest and the postmortem report and other facts related to the circumstances of the death of the man are being investigated in the judicial inquiry.

Sharma added that the police came to know about the allegation of rape levelled by the woman after she was admitted to the Jaipur hospital.

In Jaipur, Dalit activists, hit out at the government for the delay in filing FIRs in the cases of custodial death and alleged rape, and threatened to protest outside the state Assembly.