Police were asleep when man died in custody, says Mumbai crime branch

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Cops were asleep when man died in custody  says Mumbai crime branchInvestigations into the death of Hari Chavan, 47, in police custody have revealed that all policemen on night duty on April 2 were fast asleep when he allegedly hanged himself inside Malwani police station, crime branch officers said.

Sources said the policemen on duty did not realise Chavan had committed suicide. His body was found by his daughter Heena, who came to the police station early in the morning to meet him.

At the time of the incident, none of the policemen on duty were present in the room where Chavan had been detained overnight, which, crime branch sources said, is gross negligence.

“As of now, we have recorded the statement of some policemen who were on duty at the time of the incident. We will also record the statement of others, including senior inspector Prakash Patil of the Malwani police station,” said an officer of the crime branch on condition of anonymity, as he is not authorised to speak to the media.

Sources said Chavan was kept in the enquiry room without having been arrested, which is a violation of rules. There also seems to be a difference of two hours in the claims of Heena and of the policemen, sources in the crime branch said.

While Heena claims she found her father hanging around 6am when she brought him tea, policemen claim she came at 8am.

“Commissioner Rakesh Maria has clearly told the officers of the Malwani police station that action will be taken against them after the crime branch submits its report and negligence is found on their part,” said Kishor Jadhav, additional commissioner of police (north region).

Sources said the crime branch is likely to submit its report by Monday evening.

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