There was an excellent chance that Khwaja Yunus, who allegedly died in police custody after being arrested in the 2002 Ghatkopar bomb blast case, would have been acquitted just like the other accused in the case, the Bombay high court (HC) observed in a 77-page judgment.
HC granted a compensation of Rs. 20 lakh to Yunus’ family, which could be recovered by the policemen charged in the case based on their trial’s verdict. The court has however upheld the state’s contention that no case was made out against 7 out of 11 police officials whose prosecution the petitioner had sought.
“Notably, the other accused, with whom… (Yunus) had allegedly conspired in commission of the crime of Ghatkopar bomb blast, have already been acquitted by the trial court. There was an excellent chance that even the petitioner’s (Asiya Begum) son (Yunus) would have been acquitted,” a division bench of justice AM Khanwilkar and justice PD Kode held.
Petitioner’s lawyer Mihir Desai said that the state had already given Rs.3 lakh to the petitioner last year, and HC granted the Rs. 20-lakh compensation in light of the “tremendous mental trauma” suffered by Yunus’ family following his death, coupled with the fact that he was the family’s sole bread-winner for with an engineering job in Dubai.
Currently assistant sub-inspector Sachin Vaze, constable Rajendra Tiwari, constable and driver, Rajaram Nikam and constable Sunil Desai who was attached to the crime branch, Powai unit in 2002 have been charged for murder, destroying evidence and wrongful confinement.
The petitioner had sought the prosecution of ACP Ambadas Pote, senior inspector Praful Bhosale, senior inspector Rajendra Joshi, assistant inspector Hemant Desai, assistant inspector Rajaram Vahamane, late sub-inspector Arun Borude and Ashok Surganda. The court accepted that Bhosale, Desai, Vahamane and Surganda were associated with the Ghatkopar bomb blast case only to the extent of arresting the accused Dr Abdul Mateen and Zaheer from Aurangabad and handing them over on the same day to the Powai unit for investigation.
Yunus’ disappearance and death was a violation of fundamental rights, the judgment held.