HC: Custodial death seems to be murder | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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HC: Custodial death seems to be murder

The police say he died of a drug overdose, but the high court says it seems to be murder. “We feel this is a case of murder. If it was a drug overdose, there would not have been so many injury marks on his body,” said Justice Bilal Nazki of the Bombay High Court.

mumbai Updated: Oct 15, 2009 00:41 IST
HT Correspondent

The police say he died of a drug overdose, but the high court says it seems to be murder.

“We feel this is a case of murder. If it was a drug overdose, there would not have been so many injury marks on his body,” said Justice Bilal Nazki of the Bombay High Court.

He was referring to 22-year-old Altaf Sheikh, picked up from his Vikhroli home at 4 am about a month ago, on a robbery charge.

He died the same evening, at a Ghatkopar government hospital, his body covered in injury marks and froth oozing from his mouth, according to the post-mortem report and a petition filed by his mother Mehrunissa.

While the police said Altaf died of a drug overdose, Mehrunissa has alleged he was killed in custody.

On Wednesday, the court seemed to agree with her, asking: “Why should we not register an FIR against you [the police] under Section 302 [for murder].”

A division bench of Justice Nazki and Justice A.R. Joshi has now ordered additional public prosecutor K.V. Saste to file an affidavit detailing which police officers detained Altaf.

On Wednesday, Mehrunissa’s lawyer Yug Chaudhary drew the court’s attention to the post-mortem report, which showed there were a number of injuries on Altaf’s body — and did not mention any evidence of drug use.

The petition, in which Mehrunissa has sought action against the officers concerned and demanded Rs 25 lakh in compensation, will next be heard on Thursday.