Ex-public prosecutor refutes claims of ill–health for not continuing as prosecutor in Khwaja Yunus custodial death case

Mother of Khwaja Yunus who was allegedly killed in custody sitting on a fast, in Mumbai on February 14, 2006. File

Mother of Khwaja Yunus who was allegedly killed in custody sitting on a fast, in Mumbai on February 14, 2006. File | Photo Credit: Vivek Bendre

Former public prosecutor Dhiraj Mirajkar in Khwaja Yunus alleged custodial death case has refuted the advocate–general's statement that he was not continuing as prosecutor in the case due to ill health.

Khwaja's mother Asiya Begum filed an affidavit that placed an email on record by Mr. Mirajkar who was removed from the trial against dismissed police officer Sachin Vaze and three others.

The affidavit mentions that Mr. Mirajkar was appointed after Yug Chaudhry resigned as the prosecutor in the case. During the ongoing trial, Mr. Mirajkar had examined Dr. Mateen, an eye witness who had deposed about the physical torture and assault on Khwaja in custody by the accused police officers. Mr. Mirajkar had then filed an application under Section 319 (power to proceed against other persons appearing to be guilty of offence) of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC). However, he was soon removed as the special public prosecutor.

The affidavit produced an email from Mr. Mirajkar to Ms. Begum sent on February 21, 2022 that reads, "After I filed an application under Section 319 of the CrPC, I got a call from someone in the Mantralaya who inquired who had instructed me to file the application. I replied that no instructions were received from anyone nor any instructions were needed in view of the clear provision of law. Shortly, I got a call to meet the Additional Chief Secretary (Home Department) at the Mantralaya who wanted to discuss the issue with me and that I would be free in 10 minutes."

"After I waited for two hours, I went to meet the Principal Secretary who said there was no need to have called me there at all. Then, on the day of the trial, the chief public prosecutor appeared and informed the court that I had been removed, a development which I was not informed of either on the phone or by email. Post my removal, I was asked to meet the advocate–general in connection with a petition filed by Khwaja's mother and I was asked 'if re-appointed as special public prosecutor I would withdraw the application under Section 319 of the CrPC'. Without hesitation, I replied I would not — I was told that this response from me was expected. Nothing else was discussed and I left his office."

On December 25, 2002, Khwaja, 27, was arrested by the Powai CID following the Ghatkopar bomb blast. Two days later, Khwaja’s brother, who visited him in Mumbai, found him weak and unable to stand. On January 6, 2003, Khwaja either died in custody at the Powai unit or thereafter, while being taken to Aurangabad.

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Printable version | Jul 12, 2022 10:30:44 am |