Torture victims Baitha, cleaner turn hostile

The Times of India News Service

PATNA: The much-publicised Deenanath Baitha case, in which the then minister Lalit Yadav and his henchmen were charged with torturing a harijan truck driver Baitha and cleaner Karu, took a curious turn on Friday with the two victims turning hostile in the court of harijan (special) judge S K Mishra. They denied that they had been tortured.

Karu, in his deposition, said that his statement was not recorded under Section 164 of the IPC in the court of judicial magistrate, Vijay Kant Mishra, making it one of those few cases in which the victim has denied the veracity of court records. The statement of Karu is available in court records which also bear his thumb impression. But he told the court that the thumb impression on the court papers was wrong.

Though Karu admitted that he was kept confined firat at one Surendra Singh's place and later at Lalit Yadav's premises, he denied any torture and said that he was never beaten up before the former minister of state Lalit Yadav. He also denied that his nails were extracted and the accused urinated in his mouth.

He also admitted that it was due to the media's reports and initiative that police recovered him from the former minister's official residence. The police had brought them to Sachivalya police station.

Deenanath Baitha in his statement before the court denied that he had ever given any statement before the police. During his cross-examination by the public prosecutor, Suresh Chandra Prasad, he denied of any torture and simultaneously confessed that the perpetrators were "unknown persons".

The public prosecutor said that despite the victims' denial, the case could be proved on the basis of versions of independent witnesses like Dr R K Pandey who had treated the victims, Sonelal Sahu, ASI, Tanik Prasad Singh, Sachivalaya thana OC, S S Yadav, ASI, B S Jha, Ram Singh and investigating officer Ajit Kumar Sinha.

Referred by: Mukundan CM
Published on: April 30, 2001
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