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Mumbai inmate’s death: Bombay HC raps cops over probe

A division bench has now directed the crime branch to send the video recording of the post-mortem and other relevant documents, to the magistrate, and the magistrate in turn has been asked to complete the inquiry expeditiously

mumbai Updated: Aug 01, 2017 01:32 IST
Kanchan Chaudhari
Manjula Shetye, the prisoner who died after the assault in Mumbai.
Manjula Shetye, the prisoner who died after the assault in Mumbai.(File photo)

The Bombay high court (HC) on Monday rapped the city police force for not sending required material for an independent magisterial inquiry, as required by CrPC, into the death of Byculla jail inmate Manjula Shetye, by not sending requisite material to the metropolitan magistrate in time.

A division bench of justices RM Savant and Sadhana Jadhav has now directed the crime branch to send the video recording of the post-mortem and other relevant documents, to the magistrate, and the magistrate in turn has been asked to complete the inquiry expeditiously. 

The judges noted that though circulars issued to all police stations required the metropolitan magistrate to be informed of the death of any inmate in police or jail custody within 24 hours of the incident, the magistrate was informed about Shetye’s death on July 6 – when the death had taken place on June 23. And, even on July 6, only a copy of the FIR and the post-mortem report were sent to the magistrate.  “You people have made all this infructuous,” said the bench over the fact that the mandate of section 176(1A) of the Criminal Procedure Code was not followed by the police. “A duty is cast (by the section) on the magistrate, but you made it look like an accidental death and put an end to everything,” the judges added. 

The bench also warned crime branch officials connected with the probe, saying non-compliance of court orders would be viewed seriously and appropriate action would, be taken against the erring police personnel. 

The court was hearing a PIL raising concerns about Shetye’s death and seeking an inquiry into the complaints of inmates that the food served inside Maharashtra jails is poor and there are rampant irregularities in food purchase for prisons.