Investigation team rules out foul play in custodial death case

The team reported that it was a clear case of suicide

Crime: The custodial death of a 35-year-old man at the Dorokha police station, Samtse, on April 20 is a clear case of suicide, a report by an independent investigation team comprising four police officers and health officials stated.

The report also states that the deceased was a habitual drinker and had suicidal tendency that was evident from the statement given by his wife and his elder brother. The deceased had tried to consume insecticide on the same day prior to his detention.

Police said that as the deceased was drunk when he reached the police station, he was locked up and left to sober up to be questioned later. The officer-in-charge then left for another case of domestic violence.

The report also states that there were two other detainees at the lock-up that day. The police personnel on duty accompanied by the two detainees had gone to the kitchen to prepare meals at around 10 to 11am that day when the death occurred.

The police personnel came back at around 11:30am during which the man was found hanging from the iron bar of the lock-up window with a polyester shirt that he wore. The police personnel immediately cut the shirt and tried cardiopulmonary resuscitation. The deceased was then rushed to the basic health unit, where he was pronounced dead by the doctor.

The medical report states that the cause of death was due to cerebral anoxia from probable partial self-suspension (suicide).

Dorokha police detained the deceased on April 20 after the village tshogpa filed a police complaint for domestic violence. The deceased was accused of battering his wife.

Police chief Brigadier Kipchu Namgyel said that the police personnel on duty at the time of the death had also informed the duty commander who along with the other police personnel rushed the deceased to the BHU.

The officer-in-command of Samtse along with a medical team was directed to conduct a preliminary investigation to find out the cause of death. The team found ligature marks on the neck of the deceased and other symptoms on the body indicated hanging as the cause of death.

However, the family of the deceased blamed police for the death accusing police of using force on him which led to his death.

Brigadier Kipchu Namgyel said that if the family members of the deceased are still not convinced with the outcome of the independent investigation, the case would be forwarded to the court.

“We will follow the due process of law,” Brigadier Kipchu Namgyel said. “The officer-in-charge has been called to the headquarters for further enquiry to rule out any lapses on his part.”

By Kinga Dema

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