Another death at rehab centre: ‘Found facility on Google’, say kin

.A 45-year-old man admitted to a drug rehabilitation centre in Ghaziabad was allegedly beaten to death by the centre’s manager and his four accomplices, police said Friday. This comes days after a man was allegedly beaten to death by the manager of a drug rehabilitation centre in Noida.

Police said the deceased has been identified as Ankit Batra,

a resident of Paschim Vihar Extension in Delhi. Police said the accused are on the run and a special team has been formed to nab them. Ghaziabad DCP (Rural) Ravi Kumar said: “The incident took place Thursday evening at the centre run by a foundation in Ram Park Extension in Khanpur Mod under Tronica City police station area… from a small house… It is being accused that Ankit was beaten to death by manager, Vipin Thakur, and four others.”

Police said Ankit was admitted to the centre around two-and-a-half months ago. “His wife took him home about 25 days ago. He was sent back to the centre around 7 am Thursday. The incident took place in the evening following an argument with the manager. After the incident, the accused locked the building from outside and fled. Police came to know of the incident around 9.30 pm after some people inside the centre started shouting from the terrace,” said an officer.

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Ankit was taken to the district hospital in Loni where he was declared dead on arrival. “The body has been sent for post-mortem. The cause of injuries and death will be known only after the report. An FIR has been registered under IPC sections 302 and 147 against Vipin Thakur and four unknown persons”, said the officer.

The deceased is survived by his wife and a six- month-old girl and a six-year-old girl. His father, Arjun Das Batra, is a retired railway official and the family relied on his pension to meet expenses.

In the complaint, the father alleged: “My son had an alcohol problem. We started searching for drug de-addiction centers and

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got to know about… the foundation on Google. I got my son admitted. He was there from December 1, 2022 to February 6, 2023. On March 15, he came home drunk. He and Vipin hurled abuses at each other. On the morning of March 16, Vipin called my daughter-in-law Ankita and said Ankit’s condition is not good and he must be sent back to the centre. He came around 6.45 am with four people and took Ankit… (There), Vipin and men beat my son to death to take revenge…”

When The Indian Express visited the spot Friday, it found that the centre occupied two small rooms on the ground and first floor, made for residential purposes, and there was no signboard. Posters of food menus, time tables and messages to quit addiction were pasted on the wall of the office room. One such message read: “Addiction is such a disease that is rapidly swallowing our society, our country… We are also responsible for this evil to some extent, we do not have time to know where our people are going.”

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Officials said the centre was being run from the rented building for the last four months. “Eight people — three from Delhi and the rest from Mathura — are still admitted at the centre. We are trying to contact their families,” said an officer. Police said they did not find any documents with permission for running such a centre.

A neighbour alleged, “… we hear screaming and yelling all the time. Sometimes they play music, so that outsiders cannot hear what is happening inside.”

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