Letter to Chief Minister, Bihar – Custodial deaths in Sitamarhi district


Shri Nitish Kumar

Hon’ble Chief Minister, Bihar Patna, Bihar

Email: cmbihar@nic.in

15th  March, 2019

Subject: Torture and death of two men in police custody (Dumra PS, Sitamarhi district)

Dear Chief Minister,

  1. It is with much anguish that we, members of Constitutional Conduct – a group of former civil servants that takes up, from time to time, matters of exceptional national interest – write to you, to express our alarm at the reported case of custodial torture leading to death of two men in police custody in Sitamarhi district on the 7th of March 2019. We urge you to take immediate action to conduct independent enquiry; follow set guidelines of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and the Supreme Court in custodial torture and death cases; prosecute those found responsible, ensuring the severest punishment; and provide the families adequate compensation, besides protection where need be, and legal aid.


  1. Media reports of the incident reveal grave violations by the police. These include the alleged torture to death of the men picked up in a case of robbery and murder. Families have shared photos and a video clip of the victims’ bodies showing marks of nails hammered into them. The police did not allow the families to see the bodies when they first informed them of the deaths, the bodies themselves having been handed over to the families only after 24 hours of And while the Director General of Bihar Police has confirmed the custodial death and called it “unacceptable”, it is being reported that the FIR registered does not mention the appropriate sections, viz. Section 302, IPC for murder, nor does it name the police personnel involved. These lacunae already raise serious suspicion about the police’s intent to probe this case lawfully.


  1. You would agree, Mr. Chief Minister, that this is a very serious case of violation of right to life and due judicial process of the victims. In an environment of communal polarisation, concerns are being raised about this being, besides a case of police excess, also one that might be motivated by bias against a particular community. Given the circumstance, we urge you to ensure immediate action so as to restore trust in your administration.


  1. We specifically demand the following actions:


  1. Immediate arrest and prosecution of the absconding police officers under Sec. 302 IPC;
  2. Follow in full, NHRC’s guidelines on custodial torture and death, including instructions on conducting post mortem, video-filming, and magisterial enquiry;
  3. Ensure that the investigation is conducted by police from outside the district, preferably by an SIT comprising of senior officers with impeccable integrity;
  4. a time-bound and independent inquiry under Section 176(1-A) CrPC be conducted immediately by a Judicial Magistrate, and her report acted upon, besides sharing the report with the NHRC as required under law;
  5. state government award compensation to the families for reparation of the loss;
  6. State government ensure victim/witness protection, and provision of legal aid to the families, seeing to it that the State Legal Services Authority appoint a senior lawyer to assist the family from this stage


  1. We thank you for your consideration and look forward to speedy action against the perpetrators of the custodial crime.


Yours sincerely,


SN Name Service Last position held
1 Ambrose, SP IAS, Retd. Former Additional Secretary, Ministry of Shipping & Transport, Government of India (GoI)
2 Agnihotri, Anita IAS, Retd. Former Secretary, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, GoI
3 Balagopal, Gopalan IAS, Retd. Former Special Secretary, Govt. of West Bengal
4 Balakrishnan, Chandrashekhar IAS, Retd. Former Secretary, Coal, GoI
5 Bhaduri, Madhu IFS, Retd. Former Ambassador to Portugal
6 Burra, Sundar IAS, Retd. Former Secretary, Govt. of Maharashtra
7 Chandramohan, R. IAS, Retd. Former Principal Secretary, Transport and Urban Development, Govt. of NCT of Delhi
8 Chaudhuri, Kalyani IAS, Retd. Former Additional Chief Secretary, Govt. of West Bengal
9 Dani, Anna IAS, Retd. Former Additional Chief Secretary, Govt. of Maharashtra
10 Dayal, Nareshwar IFS, Retd. Former Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs and High Commissioner to the United Kingdom
11 Deb, Pradeep K. IAS, Retd. Former Secretary, Deptt. Of Sports, GoI
12 Desiraju, Keshav IAS, Retd. Former Health Secretary, GoI
13 Devasahayam, MG IAS, Retd. Former Secretary, Govt. of Haryana
14 Ghate, Prabhu IAS, Retd, Former Addl. DG, Department of Tourism, GoI
15 Gupta, Meena IAS, Retd. Former Secretary, Ministry of Environment & Forests, GoI
16 Habibullah, Wajahat IAS, Retd. Former Secretary, GoI and Chief Information Commissioner
17 Hassan, Sajjad IAS, Retd. Former Secretary, Government of Manipur
18 Jaswal, Kamal IAS, Retd. Former Secretary, Department of Information Tech., GoI
19 Khanna, Vinod IFS, Retd. Former Additional Secretary, MEA
20 Kumar, Brijesh IAS, Retd. Former Secretary, Department of Information Tech., GoI
21 Kumar, Sudhir IAS, Retd. Former Member, Central Administrative Tribunal
22 Lal, Subodh IPoS, Retd. Former Deputy Director General, Ministry of Communications, GoI
23 Mehta, Aditi IAS, Retd. Former Additional Chief Secretary, Govt. of Rajasthan
24 Mukhopadhyay, Pranab IAS, Retd. Former Director, Institute of Port Management, GoI
25 Nampoothiri, PGJ IPS, Retd. Former Director General of Police, Govt. of Gujarat
26 Pande, Amitabha IAS, Retd. Former Secretary, Inter-State Council, GoI
27 Perti, Alok IAS, Retd. Former Secretary, Ministry of Coal, GoI
28 Raghupati, NK IAS, Retd. Former Chairman, Staff Selection Commission, GoI
29 Ribeiro, Julio IPS, Retd. Former Adviser to Governor of Punjab & Ambassador to Romania
30 Sanan, Deepak IAS, Retd. Former Principal Adviser (AR) to Chief Minister, Govt. of Himachal Pradesh
31 Saxena, N. C. IAS, Retd. Former Secretary, Planning Commission, GoI
32 Selvaraj, Ananthappa IRS, Retd. Former Chief Commissioner, Income Tax, Chennai, GoI



33 Sen, Ardhendu IAS, Retd. Former Chief Secretary, Govt. of West Bengal
34 Sengupta, Abhijit IAS, Retd. Former Secretary, Ministry of Culture, GoI
35 Seth, Aftab IFS, Retd. Former Ambassador to Japan
36 Sharma, Ashok IFS, Retd. Former Ambassador to Finland and Estonia
37 Talha, Parveen IRS, Retd. Former Member, Union Public Service Commission
38 Tyabji, Hindal IAS, Retd. Former Chief Secretary rank, Govt. of Jammu & Kashmir


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