Hyderabad teen caught by guard over ‘chocolate theft’ found dead
Initially, the supermarket staff thought that the teen was faking it, but when he did not get up after a while they took him to a nearby private hospital, where he was declared brought dead.
A 17-year-old tribal student died under suspicious circumstances at a D-Mart store after he was caught by the security staff for allegedly stealing a chocolate at Vanasthalipuram on the outskirts of Hyderabad on Sunday night, the police said.
The deceased, identified as Lavudya Satish Naik from the Lambada community, was a second-year Intermediate (Class 12) student at Sri Chaitanya College near Hayathnagar.
Naik’s father L Balaji, a farmer from Mellacheruvu village in Suryapet district, alleged that his son was thrashed by the supermarket’s security staff on suspicion of stealing a chocolate, but the police said that footage from the store’s Closed Circuit Camera Television (CCTV) doesn’t seem to suggest this.
“We have booked a case of suspicious death based on the complaint filed by the deceased’s father and the college authorities. We have sent the body to Osmania General Hospital for post-mortem to find out the exact cause of his death,” said A Venkataiah, Vanasthalipuram circle inspector.
Sunpreet Singh, L B Nagar deputy commissioner of police (DCP), added that if the allegation is true: “We won’t spare the supermarket authorities. We have collected evidence and seized footage from all the CCTV cameras in the supermarket.”
Venkataiah said that the incident occurred at around 9:30 pm on Sunday, when Naik and two of his friends visited the D-Mart store around closing time. They didn’t buy anything and were leaving when Naik was accosted by one of the D-Mart staff members for allegedly “stealing” a big chocolate bar.
“As Naik and his friends were coming out of the store, the security guard called him back. Naik dropped the chocolate and went back to the guard. As he was being frisked by the security staff, a woman guard noticed the chocolate and handed it over to one of her colleagues. Naik collapsed suddenly during his questioning by the security staff,” the inspector said.
Initially, the supermarket staff thought that Naik was faking it, but when he did not get up after a while they took him to a nearby private hospital, where he was declared brought dead. “Some of Naik’s classmates helped the D-Mart management to inform the college authorities, who broke the news to his parents,” the inspector said.
On Monday, Naik’s parents -- Balaji and Manemma -- and relatives rushed to the D-Mart store and staged a sit-in, alleging that he was beaten to death by the supermarket’s security staff . “Even if my son stole a chocolate, he should have been handed over to the police or the college authorities should have been informed . How can they beat him to death?” Balaji asked.
Naik’s father also demanded action against the college authorities for allowing Naik to leave the hostel for shopping without informing either his parents or local guardian.
However, college principal Upender Reddy told reporters that the hostel authorities had taken a written undertaking from Naik and two of his friends before allowing them to go out for an hour.
The D-mart authorities have refused to comment on the issue. “The CCTV footage has been given to the police and they are doing the investigation,” said a manager of the supermarket who asked not to be named.