Custodial death: Police officers, prosecution pulled up for delay in trial

A Mumbai Court on Tuesday pulled up the police officers and the prosecution for “failing to proceed with the trial against police officers despite repeated notices and letters” in the custodial death of Khwaja Yunus in 2008.

The case dates back to 2008, when 27-year-old Yunus, who worked in Dubai as a software engineer, visited his family in India in December 2002. He was holidaying at his hometown in Parbhani, when a bomb ripped through a BEST bus in Ghatkopar, killing two persons and injuring over 50. He was picked up by the Ghatkopar police in connection with the blast and was remanded in police custody under the repealed Prevention of Terrorism Act. Eyewitnesses had said Yunus vomited blood for three days and then died in custody.

After continuous efforts made by Yunus’s mother Aasiya Begum Dhiraj Mirajkar, the third prosecutor in the case was appointed in November 2015. However, on April 17, 2018, the Maharashtra government “cancelled his appointment as a special public prosecutor (SPP)”.

Commenting on the non-appointment of an SPP since then, Judge UJ More said, “As I have observed since the last two dates, there is delay at the instance of prosecution to proceed with the case pertaining to the year 2009. The record reveals that despite repeated notices and letters to the police officers as well as the prosecution there is no concrete process.”

The court went on to say, “Failure of the police officers to take appropriate measures for speedy trial which struck up for more than 12 years without fault of the victim such as part of the prosecution as well as investigation agency in custody death case has been repeatedly brought to the notice of State CID/ prosecution agency. However, no concrete steps for proper prosecution of the case seems to have been taken by either of them.”

Those accused are then assistant police inspector, now dismissed Sachin Vaze and three policemen — Rajendra Tiwari, Rajaram Nikam and Sunil Desai. They are booked for murder, conspiracy and destruction of evidence and the trial against them commenced on May 3, 2017, at the city civil and sessions court.

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Printable version | Oct 28, 2021 12:13:24 AM |

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