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Won’t appoint new prosecutor in Yunus case till Oct. 14: Maharashtra

A view of Bombay High Court building, in Mumbai. File   | Photo Credit: Vivek Bendre

The Maharashtra government on Wednesday told the Bombay High Court that it would not appoint a new prosecutor till the plea seeking to bring back the old prosecutor was heard on October 14 in the custodial death of 27-year-old Khwaja Yunus in 2009. Those accused are then assistant police inspector (now dismissed) Sachin Vaze and three policemen — Rajendra Tiwari, Rajaram Nikam and Sunil Desai. They have been 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. The court posted the matter for October 14.

The case dates back to 2008, when Yunus, who worked in Dubai as a software engineer, was visiting 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 He was picked up by the Ghatkopar police in connection with the blast and was remanded in police custody under the repealed Prevention of Terrorism Act.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 prolonged efforts 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].”

Ms. Begum has challenged the cancellation of appointment which was being heard by a Division Bench of Justices P.B. Varale and N.R. Borkar.

Senior advocate Mihir Desai, appearing for Ms. Begum, told the court that in July 2018, the State had made a statement that a fresh appointment of the SPP would not be done in the case until the petition was pending. However, on September 21, the prosecution told the trial court that they were in the process of appointing a new SPP.

Additional government pleader Sangeeta Shinde said she had taken instructions from Advocate General Ashutosh Kumbhakoni and officers of the State Law and Judiciary department that the appointment would not take place till the next date.

The Bench said, “We will give the State government an opportunity to put forth its case, but till then no appointment should be made. There should be no sudden change in the prosecutor.” It posted the matter for October 14.

Those accused are then assistant police inspector (now dismissed) Sachin Vaze and three policemen — Rajendra Tiwari, Rajaram Nikam and Sunil Desai. They have been 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 24, 2021 9:36:32 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/wont-appoint-new-prosecutor-in-yunus-case-till-oct-14-maharashtra/article36621718.ece

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