2009 ‘custodial death’ of Mumbai man is prima facie murder case, to be tried by sessions court: Bombay HC | Mumbai News

MUMBAI: Holding that the special CBI trial court Judge passed a wrong order in January 2018 in a 2009 custodial torture and death case, the Bombay high court setting it aside directed framing of a murder charge against three accused police officials.
The forensic report had said Shaikh had died due to contusions on head, noted Justice P D Naik and said the trial court order in not framing the murder charge against the three Mumbai police officers was erroneous.
In September 2009 Altaf Shaikh died in custody.
His mother, A Mumbai resident, had in 2019 challenged an order of the special Judge set up under the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) directing the case record to be transferred to a magistrate for trial only under the less serious offence of voluntarily causing hurt which attracts maximum a year’s sentence and for criminal conspiracy.
The mother’s case was that police had come knocking at their door at 4 am on September 11, 2009, and on seeing Altaf “started beating and kicking him’’ and then dragged him ta an auto rickshaw pulling his hair and took him to Ghatkopar police station. She was later told he was hit on his head and taken to Rajawadi civic hospital where she was “bruises’’ on his head and body.
The HC in its Monday ruling said, “at the initial stage if there is strong suspicion which leads the Court to think that there is ground for presuming that the Accused has committed an offence then it is not open to the court to say there is no sufficient ground for proceeding against accused”.
The HC directed the trial court to now proceed with the case “expeditiously.’’
She filed a petition in 2009 alleging her son was killed in police custody. The court had on October 16, 2009 directed that a case be registered against police officers for offences under section 302 IPC (murder) and CBI was directed to probe.
The police went to the Supreme Court which a month later directed CBI to register an FIR and probe the matter uninfluenced by the HC order.
The HC on March 27, noted in Shaikh’s case, “There was no station diary entry about the custody of the deceased. There was no arrest memo. The deceased was taken to the Police Station. He had suffered external and internal injuries”.
Citing at length from the forensic report, the HC order after hearing Yug Chaudhry’s counsel for Shaikh, Hiten Venegaonkar for CBI, Niranjan Mundargi counsel for the police trio and APP Arfan Sait for State said, “External injury can lead to sub-arachnoid haemorrhage and cause death in person. The death of deceased might have occurred either due to individual reason or on account of collective reasons mentioned in the certificate”.
Adding, “On analysis of the evidence before trial Court, prima facie offences under Section 120-B (criminal conspiracy), 302 (murder), 342 (wrongful confinement), 330 (torture by a police officer to induce a person that he committed a crime) of IPC is made out. The case is triable by Court of Session”.

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