Trouble may start afresh for the 10 policemen who were off the hook for their alleged involvement in the custodial death of alleged Ghatkopar blast accused Khwaja Yunus in 2002.
The Bombay High Court on Monday allowed Yunus’ mother, Aasiya Begum, to file an amendment to her petition wherein she has sought prosecution of the 10 officers.
On December 23, 2002, police arrested Yunus for his alleged involvement in the blast in a BEST bus at Ghatkopar and booked him under the stringent Prevention of Terrorism Act.
Police claimed that while being taken to Aurangabad for further investigation, Yunus fled after their jeep met with an accident near Ahmednagar.
In 2003, Yunus’ father, Ayub, filed petition in the high court claiming he was killed in custody. After Ayub’s death, Aasiya became the petitioner.
The high court handed over the case to the Crime Investigation Department (CID) to investigate into Yunus’ alleged “mysterious disappearance”.
The CID filed a report and sought prosecution of 14 police officers for their alleged role in Yunus’ custodial death.
In December 2007, the state granted sanction to prosecute only four of these 14 officers — Assistant Police Inspector Sachin Vaze and constables Rajaram Nikam, Rajendra Tiwari and Sunil Desai.
On Monday, Aasiya’s lawyer Mihir Desai, filed the amended petition before the high court.
The petition seeks that the court directs the government to grant sanction to prosecute the other 10 officers (see box).
Subhash Jha, advocate for some of the 10 officers, opposed the petition, saying: “This is not prosecution, it is persecution.” The government has examined the evidence and decided that only four officers need to be prosecuted, he added.
Justice B.H. Marlapalle said: “Just because we have allowed to file the amended petition, does not mean that court has made up its mind [to allow prosecution of 10 officers]… it will have to be argued and will be considered on merit.”