13 police personnel were suspended on Monday in connection with the arrest and imprisonment of a 14-year-old boy allegedly on trumped up charges, after he refused to give vegetables to policemen for free.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had ordered a high-level inquiry on July 21 into media reports that the boy was arrested here and sent to jail three months ago.
Inspector General of Police, Patna Zone, Naiyar Hasnain Khan told PTI that suspension of the 13 policemen was made on account of inconsistencies in lodging of the FIR and "wrongfully" sending the boy, who is less than 18 years of age, to jail.
He, however, said the charge of policemen demanding free vegetables could not be proved "as there was no independent witnesses".
The boy was picked up from his house in March by a posse of police personnel who allegedly refused to tell his family members as to why he was being taken away, the reports claimed. His parents were informed two days later that he had been sent to jail in a motorcycle loot case, they claimed.
The parents alleged that when they met the boy in jail, he said he was booked in the case along with two others whom he did not know and that some policemen had been angry with him ever since he declined to give them vegetables for free.
"The allegation of policemen demanding free vegetables could not be proved as there were no independent witnesses. Nevertheless, investigations have established that the boy was less than 18 years of age and he was wrongfully sent to jail," the IG said.
Instructions have been issued for shifting him to a remand home, Khan said.
Moreover, a number of inconsistencies were found in the FIR lodged in connection with the motorcycle loot case, the IG said.
"It has come to light that he was picked up from his house but in the FIR it was stated otherwise. Nothing was recovered from his possession at the time of arrest, but the FIR shows that he was found with a motorcycle. It is a glaring case of shoddy action", Khan said.
Consequently, the SHOs of Agamkuan and By-pass police stations, Kamakhya Singh and Rajendra Prasad Singh respectively have been suspended. Munna Kumar Verma, the acting SHO of Agamkuan, at the time of the arrest was also suspended, he said.
In addition, four sub-inspectors and two constables posted at Agamkuan and an SI and three constables at By-pass, all of whom were part of the raiding team which had arrested the three persons in the motorcycle loot case, were suspended, he added.
A show cause notice was also issued to Hari Mohan Shukla, the Sub Divisional Police Officer, Patna City, who failed to take action despite the boy's parents having met him months ago with their complaint, the IG said.
After he comes up with a reply, suspension and departmental action may follow, the IG said.
Instructions were issued to Patna Senior Superintendent of Police Manu Maharaj for conducting a fresh investigation into the motorcycle loot case in view of the glaring irregularities which came to the fore, he said.
"We have also learnt that the Agamkuan police station has a very bad reputation. Hence, other than those who have been suspended, all personnel including home guards have been sent to Police Lines and deployment of fresh staff has been ordered", Khan added.
(With PTI inputs)