“Altaf has got justice and now his soul can rest in peace,” said Mehrunisa Sheikh, mother of the 22-year-old chauffeur from Ghatkopar who died in police custody last month.
Sheikh spent most of last month at the Ghatkopar police station, trying to find out how her boy — picked up at 3 am on September 11 on a robbery charge — ended up dead at the local government hospital the same evening, his body covered in injury marks and froth oozing from his mouth.
Armed with a post-mortem report that confirmed the injury marks and refuted the police’s claim that Altaf had died of a drug overdose, the grieving mother approached the Bombay High Court, seeking action against the officers concerned.
On Friday, she was vindicated as the high court ordered that a case of murder be filed against three Ghatkopar policemen, and handed over the probe into Altaf’s death to the Central Bureau of Investigation.
“I was confident that my son would get justice,” Mehrunisa said, hours after the day’s hearing ended. “I fought a battle for truth and my prayers have been answered.”
As Mehrunisa left the south Mumbai courthouse with her eldest son Aslam, an out-of-work chauffeur, she broke down.
“These officers who have been suspended should lose their jobs,” she said. “They must pay for killing my innocent son so brutally.”
Altaf, the youngest of Mehrunisa’s three children, was the sole breadwinner for the family of six — his mother, sister, brother Aslam and Aslam’s wife and daughter.
He had been arrested in 12 previous robbery cases going back 10 years, all of them still being tried at the time of his death.