Custodial death case: Court orders CBI to appoint special public prosecutor, woman prosecutor
A special court in Mumbai has ordered the CBI to appoint a special public prosecutor and a woman public prosecutor for the trial of three police officers involved in the custodial death of Altaf Kadir Shaikh in 2009. The court stated that the directions of the Bombay high court regarding the appointment of special public prosecutors in custodial death cases must be followed. The police officers were booked for allegedly causing Shaikh's death while in their custody.
Mumbai: A special court recently ordered the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to appoint a special public prosecutor (SPP) and a woman public prosecutor for the trial of three police officers who were booked for the custodial death of Altaf Kadir Shaikh on September 11, 2009.
The special CBI court on Thursday allowed the plea of the family members of Shaikh for the appointment of a special public prosecutor in the case. The complainant had sought to appoint a special public prosecutor, relying on the directions of the Bombay high court wherein a division bench of justice VM Kanade and justice PD Kode had held that in case of prosecution of the cases of custodial deaths, the court shall deal with such cases on high priority and the state shall appoint special public prosecutors who shall be assisted by woman public prosecutor.
The CBI, which probed the case, opposed the plea, saying the directions of the high court were applicable to the state government and not to the central agency. Besides, it was argued that the plea was filed at a very belated stage.
The special court, after hearing both sides and considering the directions of the high court, observed that the sessions court, being a subordinate court, would have to follow the directions issued by the high court. Thus, allowing the plea of the complainant, the court has directed CBI “to appoint a special public prosecutor who shall be assisted by a woman public prosecutor to conduct the prosecution in this case at earliest as the matter is time bound.”
According to the prosecution case, on September 11, 2009, at 4am, the three police officials, sub-inspector Sanjay Khedekar, head constable Raghunath Kodekar and police naik Sayaji Thombare, went to Altaf’s residence and picked him up and took him to Ghatkopar police station in connection with some alleged crime.
Around 9am, the senior police inspector while on his routine round noticed Altaf sleeping in the detention room. When he tried to awaken him, Altaf did not respond and hence was immediately rushed to Rajawadi Hospital, where he was declared dead before arrival.
Based on the complaint lodged by the mother of the victim, the three policemen were booked for allegedly causing his death while in their custody.