Boy murdered over a tea cup that costs Rs2.50

,TNN | Sep 27, 2011, 06.44 AM IST

NEW DELHI: The death of a 16-year-old minor boy in northeast Delhi over a cup of tea that cost Rs 2.50 on the premises of one of the busy police stations in the capital has jolted Seelampur residents who claim that police inaction had led to the death. DCP (northeast) Sanjay Kumar Jain denied any police involvement in the case saying the incident took place at least 30 metres away from the police station. 

The incident was reported at 6.09 pm on Sunday at the Seelampur police station. The deceased, identified as Manju, was a small shopkeeper-cumvendor from Agra who was staying in Gautampuri and used to sell artificial jewellery next to the boundary wall of the police station. The police has registered a case of murder and arrested one Arif (19) for committing the murder. 

The deceased's maternal cousin, Fauzi (25), alleged that Manju was going about his business when he was called by the cops and asked for four cups of tea. "My brother went to Shakir, who has a tea stall. Shakir's son, Arif, took four cups to the police station. The cops, however, said they wanted only three and that they won't pay for the fourth. This infuriated Arif who called Manju inside the police station, from the rear. After some heated arguments, Manju was beaten up and punched on his head. He fell down and was unconscious while on his way to hospital," claimed Fauzi. 

Police, though, denied the entire version. "Manju had himself asked for a cup of tea from Arif who was manning the shop. He had prepared tea and was on his way to distributing it when Manju stopped him and asked him to serve him first. Arif objected saying the tea was meant for someone else. Manju reportedly abused Arif, who then retaliated by punching him. The PCR received a call at 6.09 pm of an unconscious boy lying near the bus stand. The PCR took Manju and his brother, Fauzi, to GTB Hospital where doctors declared him dead at 6.58 pm," said DCP Jain. He claimed PCR records show Fauzi claiming the incident took place outside the police station premises. "The body has been found near the market and even the FIR by Fauzi tallies with our version," he claimed. This was found to be true. 

An eyewitness, on the condition of anonymity, said, "There was an argument between the two right near the rear gate, following which Arif grabbed Manju's neck and punched him. He fell unconscious and later we got to know that he died. The boy was an epilepsy patient." 

Contrary to the cops' version, at least 12 shopkeepers in the vicinity claimed that the scuffle had taken place on the premises of the police station near the rear gate. "The boy used to sit right outside the gate and used to sell earrings. On Sunday, Arif was going to deliver tea to the cops when there was an argument over one extra cup of tea. By the time we ran to save him, Manju had fallen unconscious," said Rakesh an eyewitness who had a shop in front of Manju's stall. 

When TOI visited the spot, the rear gate of the police station was seen to have two locks of which one was open and hanging. The other lock people claimed had been put there after the incident. “We are all shocked that the argument could have led to Manju's death. Both Arif and Manju were thinly built and it is surprising that an accidental blow killed one of them," added Rakesh.