Coming down heavily on the Maharashtra Government for failing to take action against the police officers involved in the alleged murder of Ghatkopar bomb blast accused Khwaja Yunus, the Bombay High Court on Tuesday directed Director General of Police (DGP) PS Pasricha to initiate the transfer of the concerned officers out of Mumbai within two days, failing which the court would be compelled to pass transfer orders on its own.
Its been over three years since the mysterious “disappearance” of Ghatkopar bomb blast accused Khwaja Yunus after the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) detenue allegedly escaped after his arrest on January 6, 2003, a case was registered by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) stating that Yunus had actually died while in police custody.
However, after arrest of eight police officers who were subsequently released on bail, there has been no substantial progress in the case.
A division bench of Justice JN Patel and Justice R Dalvi on Tuesday asked Pasricha to take action on his own against the police officers or the “the court would be constrained to issue further directions (including directing their transfer),” observed the bench.
Special public prosecutor for the CID RV Mokashi submitted a progress report in the court and said that they were not able to complete the investigation due to non-cooperation on the part of police. So far, the CID has arrested eight policemen, who are all out on bail. Apart from that the sessions court had granted anticipatory bail 29 policemen attached with the Ghatkopar and Powai unit.
“There are still several more suspects in the case who need to be interrogated,” Mokashi told the court.
After going through the report submitted by the CID, Justice Patel questioned public prosecutor SR Borulkar as to why the police officers on whom the doubt was cast by the CID were still serving in Mumbai. “How can the CID investigate with free hand when the concerned officers are still working in the city,” questioned Justice Patel.
Borulkar informed the court that a few police officers were suspended from service and also some have been transferred out of Mumbai. After the case was registered, only two policemen have been transferred out of Mumbai, ACP Ambadas Pote is now posted as deputy superintendent of police at Nanded and Senior PI Rajendra Joshi to Pune.
The bench directed the DGP to specify what steps he proposed to take against the officers who are still in the city by October 19. The court has also directed Mokashi to submit a list of other police officers who are under suspicion.
The bench was hearing a petition filed by Yunus’ mother Aasiya Khwaja Ayub seeking that she should be paid compensation of Rs 10 lakh. The government is presently paying her a compensation of Rs 5,000 a month.
DGP Pasricha when contacted told Hindustan Times that he was yet to receive a copy of the court’s order and would not like to comment till then.