The Bombay High Court on Friday directed the Pune district magistrate to complete inquiries within 10 days into the 24 suicidal deaths of Yerawada Central Jail inmates. The inquiry is pending since 2000.
A division bench of Justice RMS Khandeparkar and Justice Roshan Dalvi was hearing a suo moto writ petition based on a letter written by Anil Gote to the Chief Justice of the Bombay High Court. The bench has also warned the jail authorities to take appropriate action against its erring officers, who are allegedly involved in the suicidal deaths, failing which the court will issue necessary directions.
Former MLA from Dhule and an accused in the fake stamp paper scam, Anil Gote wrote a letter highlighting the alleged physical and mental harassment given to the inmates by the jail officers. Gote, who is lodged in the Yerwada Central Jail, has stated in his letter that a convict Ramesh Gaikwad had committed suicide in the prison because of alleged mental and physical harassment by jail authorities.
According to the letter, there have been 731 deaths in prisons across Maharashtra, of which 152 took place at Yerwada between the period January 2001 and June 2006.
The jail authorities had earlier filed an affidavit stating that 35 inmates had committed suicides inside Yerawada prison since the year 2000. The state government had assured the court, in March this year, that compulsory magistral inquiries will be completed before mid June.
However, on Friday, on hearing that inquiries were completed in only 11 deaths, the court came down heavily on the government and directed them to complete the inquiries in the remaining 24 deaths within 10 days.
The matter will now come up for further hearing on August 10.