The Bombay high court on Wednesday asked the state to place on record the charge sheet and all adverse evidence against the main accused in the murder of Pune techie Mohsin Shaikh.
The HC is hearing a plea filed by the accused, Hindu Rashtra Sena leader Dhananjay Desai, asking for the charges of murder and attempt to murder charges against him be dropped. The case generated much furore recently, when another bench of the high court granted bail to the other men accused in the case, saying they had been “provoked in the name of religion”.
IT professional Shaikh was attacked on June 2, 2014, by a mob in Pune’s Hadapsar during violence that erupted over a social media post. Around half-an-hour before the attack, Desai was allegedly addressing a meeting that instigated the audience to violence.
Desai, challenging a Pune sessions court’s order of June 2016 that rejected his discharge plea, argued he had no connection to the murder and that his name had come up in the charge sheet only four times. He said he did not dispute that he had given some speeches, but added that these were not provocative. He argued he had given these speeches in January and March 2014, but Mohsin was murdered in June.
It wasn’t even the prosecution’s case that he was present at the spot where Mohsin was killed, Desai said, and said there was no evidence to show he was in contact with the other people accused of the attack.
“In the entire charge sheet, there are only two pieces of evidence against me. One is that I was part of two meetings in January and March and I made speeches in the meetings. I am admitting there were such meetings and I was a part of them, but I can only be charged for being a part of them; not for the murder that occurred months later,” he told the court.
Desai’s counsel, advocate Sanjeev Punalekar, said there already existed an FIR against Desai for having delivered those speeches and while he was willing to face trial in that case, he could not be tried on the same charge or on exaggerated charges in another case. The court is likely to take up the matter for further hearing in a week’s time.