Puri custodial death: Odisha HC directs govt to pay compensation

Cuttack: The Orissa High Court has directed the State Government to pay compensation to the deceased’s family in the case of alleged custodial death of an accused in Puri town.

Hearing a petition filed by Puri-based lawyer Sarat Kumar Rayguru, a division bench of the High Court comprising Chief Justice Mohammad Rafiq and Justice Biswanath Rath yesterday directed S. Palit, Additional Government Advocate, to obtain instruction from the Government as to what ex-gratia amount by way of interim compensation can be paid to the victim’s family, pending decision of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) as to final compensation.

Palit has also been asked by the court to apprise it about the progress in the matter as well as about the wellbeing of the family of the victim on the next date of hearing on December 1.

He apprised the High Court that the NHRC has already taken cognizance of the matter and the State Government has also ordered a judicial inquiry in the matter.

On the other hand, D.K. Mohapatra, counsel for the petitioner, submitted that the counter affidavit filed by the State does not contain many details, which he has learnt from media. He also submitted that the whereabouts of family members of the victim were not known and prayed before the court for time to file rejoinder in the matter.

The petitioner has sought a High Court-monitored probe into the matter, stringent action against the accused police officials, and compensation for the deceased’s family.

It is being alleged that K Ramesh (33) of Loknath Road area in Puri town died due to police excesses. However, former Puri SP Akhileshwar Singh had said that Ramesh was arrested by Baselisahi police for interrogation as he was attempting a crime in Mangalaghat area. He sustained injuries during scuffle with the cops and was admitted to the district headquarters hospital, where his condition deteriorated and he died during treatment, said Singh.

On the other hand, Ramesh’s kin alleged that he was picked up by police from his house and died of torture by the cops.

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