Seven months after the custodial death of terror undertrial Khalid Mujahid, his counsels have alleged that the Uttar Pradesh government was hampering the process of “fact disclosure” on the conditions leading to his death.
Khalid, an accused in the 2007 serial court blasts in Faizabad, Lucknow, Varanasi and Gorakhpur died on May 18 under mysterious conditions while he was being brought back to Lucknow jail after a hearing in Faizabad.
While the State claimed that Khalid died due to medical reasons, with Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav going on record, the victim’s family have alleged that he was killed.
Contrary to the State’s claims that Khalid’s co-accused Tariq Qasmi had submitted that Khalid was feeling unwell, in a letter to his counsel Mohammed Shoaib, Tariq claims that Khalid was “not unwell and was laughing during the journey,” The Hindu has a copy of the letter.
A five-member-panel of doctors had stated that the cause of Khalid's death could not be ascertained. Now according to the latest information revealed under the RTI, the district jail Lucknow has admitted that during his stay in jail, Khalid “never faced any such problems for which he would have had to be admitted to the district hospital or the prison hospital.” The deceased also “never mentioned any illness that would have required ECG or ultrasonography,” the RTI reveals.
Khalid’s counsel Mohammad Shoaib alleges that the State was trying to cover up the facts of Khalid's medical condition. In an RTI query, Khalid's co-accused Tariq sought to know the details of the medical conditions, jail records and health expenses of Khalid during his time in Unnao jail (September 9, 2009 to March 19, 2011).
However, he is yet to get any response, says Mr. Shoaib, who alleges that the senior superintendent of the jail has stipulated that no information would be revealed without the "permission" of Khalid. While Khalid expired on May 18, the Superintendent’s stipulation letter came in August. Calling it “absurd,” that the jail has sought permission from a deceased man, Mr. Shoaib said it was clear that the State was trying to obstruct the development in the case.
Mr. Shoaib also raised questions on the fate of the high-level probe conducted by the State and the inquiries conducted by the Chief Judicial Magistrates of Barabanki and Faizabad. “This was to weaken the prosecution, by calling for so many probes," said Mr. Shoaib.
Randhir Singh Suman, also a lawyer of the accused, says that the State followed the wrong procedure in conducting the viscera testing on Khalid's body.
"Khalid's uncle had prayed before the CJM Barabanki to conduct viscera testing and according to procedure, his statement should have been recorded before any such testing. The testing was conducted without this procedure."
Khalid's uncle's application is still pending in court, Mr. Suman added.