A government inquiry has cleared two Indian policemen who were filmed joining a mob to punch and kick a man accused of stealing a gold chain.
By Amarnath Tewary
The man, his hands bound, was shown being tied to a motorbike in the eastern state of Bihar. He then fell off, trapping his legs in its wheels.
The man was beaten by at least one policeman, as well as being dragged several yards down the street.
The footage shocked the nation and also invited worldwide attention.
The state government set up an inquiry committee to probe the role of the policemen - assistant sub-inspector LB Singh and constable Ramchandra Singh - in the incident which took place in Bhagalpur town on 28 August.
The committee submitted its final report on Tuesday, giving a clean chit to the policemen.
"The police in fact saved the life of Aurangajeb by reaching the spot. It was the public who beat him up and tied him behind the motorbike and they pushed the bike.
"Had the policemen not arrived on the scene, Aurangajeb would have been lynched," the report said.
Aurangajeb too has said that the policemen saved him from the mob.
But the opposition leader in the state and India's Railway Minister Laloo Yadav criticised the state government for exonerating the two policemen.
"Everyone saw those visuals where the policemen were dragging the man after tying him to the back of their motorbike.
"This government is full of liars. I fail to understand how can it give a clean chit to the guilty policemen," he asked?
The video showed the paper-thin suspect Mohammed Aurangajeb alias Salim being caught by the local people.
He was mercilessly beaten up by the mob and the video showed him being tied to a motorbike and dragged for some distance.
At least two policeman could be seen in the video, one of them riding the bike.
The two were suspended and an inquiry was ordered into the incident.
When the footage of the incident was broadcast on television channels, it caused a huge uproar.
A team of the National Human Rights Commission visited the town to probe the incident.
The state government constituted a separate inquiry to find out the role of the policemen in the incident.
A few days after the incident, senior state police officials cleared the two policemen.