Manjula Shetye murder: ‘Magistrate didn’t visit barracks the day inmate was assaulted’
As a rule, a magistrate has to visit women prisons for an inspection, assess the condition of prisoners and note down their complaints if anymumbai Updated: Oct 04, 2017 09:00 IST
The inmates of Byculla jail alleged that a magistrate, who came for a routine inspection on the day when Manjula Shetye was murdered, neither visited the barrack no 5 nor met them.
As a rule, a magistrate has to visit women prisons for an inspection, assess the condition of prisoners and note down their complaints, if any.
However, when Shetye was assaulted, the magistrate did visit the jail but left without meeting prisoners, claimed several inmates, including eye witness Ranjana Rathod.
Rathod is one of the key witnesses in the case. She shared the barrack with Shetye. Rathod in her statement recorded on June 30 claimed that Shetye was assaulted at 10:30 by jailor Manisha Pokharkar and other jail staff, while the magistrate visited the place at 12:30 pm.
“At 12:30pm, a judge madam came for a round. She, however, did not visit the barrack nor did she enquire with the inmates about their condition. She left from the passage itself,” Rathod said in her statement.
Several other inmates have seconded Rathod’s statement.
She said that Pokharkar had threatened all inmates to not reveal the incident to anyone or else everyone would meet the same fate. She claimed Pokharkar had had differences with Shetye since the former took charge as a jailer. The jailer threatened Shetye with dire consequences.
Rathod along with other inmates claimed that Pokharkar used to favour two inmates Amruta Methew and Varsha Nayar who used to inform on Shetye, leading to beatings.
Shetye, a life convict, was allegedly assaulted by the officials of Byculla prison on June 23 after she complained against them for providing fewer eggs and bread.
As the words spread among inmates about the murder, a riot broke out in the jail. They set furniture and papers on fire and some of them even climber the roof.
Additional DG BK Upadhyay (prisons) and other officials visited the jail following which six jail personnel, including the jailer, were suspended.
A case was registered against 291 jail inmates —Indrani Mukherjee — for rioting, assaulting and mischief by fire.
The 990-page charge sheet was filed by the crime branch on September 26.