A man identified as Ifeanyi Madu alias Nwa Jesus died on Monday after police alleged that the bike on which he was riding pillion skidded on Kothanur Avalahalli Road, police said.
Policemen in India have been fingered and accused of murdering a Nigerian man and staging it to look like an accident.
According to a report by the Times of India, the African community, however, has described the death as “murder” and is questioning the police version of events.
The Central Crime Branch, which is the complainant in the case, said its team was at the spot to conduct a drug bust when the accident occurred. K N Yashavanth Kumar, inspector, women and narcotic cell of the Central Crime Branch (CCB), said in his complaint that his team was on Kothanur Avalahalli Road expecting to make an arrest after an exchange of drugs for money when the accident occurred.
A senior officer said the team had left the office around 7.30pm and was waiting at the spot.
The African community, contesting the police version, said that some of its members saw Madu with plainclothes police officers near a supermarket in the area around 10pm. In a letter to the Nigerian high commission in New Delhi, they have sought its intervention so that the case is handed over to an independent agency like the Criminal Investigation Department (CID).
An official statement quoting Kumar’s complaint said: “The team was waiting by the road. Around 12.10am (Monday), two persons riding a scooter passed and returned, making a U-turn; suddenly the rider tried speeding with the intention of running away.”
Police said the rider lost control, and the pillion rider was tossed from the bike. The rider left him behind and escaped. Yashvanth’s complaint said his team took the victim to Bowring and Lady Curzon hospital in Shivajinagar, and the doctor declared him as “dead on arrival.”
Later, representatives of 11 African nations were called to the hospital in a bid to identify the man. They circulated his photograph on WhatsApp and the victim was identified as Ifeanyi Madu alias NWA Jesus.
Based on information provided by the Nigerian community, police have contacted the Foreigner Regional Registration Office and are awaiting confirmation of the man’s identity. Police said they do not have any conclusive evidence at present to link Madu with any kind of criminal activity, including drug dealing.
The community’s legal adviser Bosco Kaweesi said: “The nature of the injuries do not point to an accident. We want an impartial investigation into the matter. This murder comes close on the heels of the murder of a Ugandan woman in February, who the police conveniently called a prostitute and her death has not been investigated properly.”
Police maintain that the death was caused by an accident and that they never had Madu in custody. Police have seized the vehicle involved in the accident but had not traced its owner or the rider. They have found a mobile phone, which they think belonged to Madu.
Police commissioner Praveen Sood said: “We are checking those details. We don’t know if it is a stolen vehicle. We cannot say anything now.”