The Bombay High Court on Thursday rapped the Mumbai police for repeatedly changing statements on whether an accused in a double murder case was a juvenile at the time of committing the crime.
The police’s ambivalence over the issue earned it the Bombay High Court’s ire.
The accused, Danbhadur alias Ajay Pratap Bahadur, was arrested in September 2008 for allegedly abetting the murders of a 10-year-old and his grandmother in Santacruz, where he worked as a domestic help.
A year after being, the jail superintendent sent a letter to the police, raising doubts over Bahadur’s age. He was then sent to a children’s remand home.
The police then went to his village in Nepal and got a birth certificate issued by a competent authority. The certificate stated Bahadur’s date of birth as February 20, 1990.
That made Bahadur an 18-year-old at the time of allegedly committing the crime.
The court questioned the need for re-verification of Bahadur’s age when the first medical report had stated that he was aged between 18 and 19 years. It asked the investigating officer to file an affidavit, explaining “why document produced now (birth certificate) had not been obtained earlier”.
The high court also asked the investigating officer to explain what had made him change his mind about re-verification of Bahadur’s age, after a year.
Based on the jailor’s letter, the prosecution made an application in the trial court, which even separated his trial.
“You should be aware that these are delaying tactics. The jailor should not interfere with the prosecution,” said Justice SC Dharmadhikari.
Bahadur’s advocates, Gayatri Singh and Gayatri Sahane, sought to file their reply.