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Insane until proven guilty

Life of an undertrial can be full of hardships while he awaits justice, reports Mustafa Plumber.

india Updated: Nov 08, 2006 20:32 IST

Life of an undertrial can be full of hardships while he awaits justice. One such person is the alleged murder accused Mohammed Ayub alias Papa Mohammed Idris Shaikh who has been languishing in jail for the last eight years, which has turned him insane. 

Ayub is presently undergoing treatment at the Thane Mental Hospital after the court trying him recently called for a report about his mental health from the jail authorities. The report confirmed that he was mentally unsound and that he required treatment.

Based on the report, the court has separated Ayub's case from that of other two accused and directed the prosecution to produce the witnesses in a case of murder that took place in 1998 at Ghatkopar on Monday. 

It is alleged that on May 30 that year, Ayub who was 24-years-old and a resident of Sanjay Nagar slum had, along with the other co-accused Gulam Rasool Shaikh, Samjadali Shaikh, Manzur Hasan and one Khalil, killed Ejaz Sayyed alias Baba a rickshaw driver over a petty issue.

The police registered a case of murder against the accused and initially arrested Ayub, Manzur, Ghulam and Samjadali. However, the trial did not commence against the accused till 2002. 

When the case came up for framing of charges against the accused on February 12, 2002, at the sessions court, the jail authorities informed the court that Ayub could not be produced as he was admitted to the Thane Mental Hospital for treatment and thus his case was kept in abeyance and the court framed charges against three other accused Ghulam, Manzur and Samjadali and the trio were also subsequently granted bail by the court.
The trial was further delayed because accused Samjadali jumped bail. The police were able to arrest one of the absconding accused Shakhil Shaikh on June 24, 2003 and the first witness was examined by the court on August 26, 2003. Due to several reasons the trial kept on being delayed. Till now the case has been transferred in five courts. 

In 2005, four witnesses were examined. Proceedings, however, had to be stopped once again in October after the court received a report from the jail officials stating that Ayub was now fit for a trial. Based on the report, the court made Ayub a part of the trial and resumed the proceedings.

Ayub was not granted bail and was lodged in jail as he was stated to be the prime accused. Accused Ayub has been transferred to many jails including Arthur road, Nashik and Thane.   

When the case came up for hearing on August 4, 2006, Ayub complained of insanity before the court and was referred to the Thane mental hospital and a report proving the same was submitted. Prosecutor Dilip Shah said, "Thus the court on September 29, 2006 again separated the trial and the evidence against the other two accused Manzur and Shakil will commence".