Charge sheet in Byculla prison murder may lead jailors walking free | mumbai news | Hindustan Times
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Charge sheet in Byculla prison murder may lead jailors walking free

mumbai Updated: Oct 03, 2017 22:52 IST
Charul Shah
Charul Shah
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
Manjula Shetye was allegedly brutally murdered  in the Byculla prison by six jail officials.

Manjula Shetye was allegedly brutally murdered in the Byculla prison by six jail officials.

The charge sheet filed in court on Tuesday against six jailors for the murder of Manjula Shetye, 38, inside Byculla prison on June 23 is full of loopholes and contradictions and has little that can lead to their conviction. For example, it admits that her underclothes were bloodstained, but says there were no injuries on her body.

Hindustan Times had first reported that a witness had told the police that Shetye, jailed for murder, had died after she was assaulted by jailors who had inserted a lathi in her privates. The FIR filed with the Nagpada police station had quoted the witness and said Shetye was assaulted by the six jailors when she protested against missing rations for the prisoners housed in her barrack.

The Crime Branch of the Mumbai police took over the investigation and has now filed the charge sheet in a magistrate’s court. The agency has failed to retrieve the stick the prison officials used to beat up Manjula. And, the charge sheet reflects the lackadaisical attitude of police officials in gathering evidence.

The charge sheet negates the statement of eyewitnesses in the case, based on which the FIR was registered and claims that jail officials assaulted Shetye because she did not obey their orders.

The charge sheet claimed fellow inmates had complained about Shetye, who was put in charge of the barrack for good behaviour, saying she used to give them broken eggs, allotted them little time to meet their relatives, and forced them to give her massages. The agency said that it was because of these complaints that six jail officials -- beat her up, which resulted in her death.

The statement of the key eyewitness and complainant in the case contradicts this. It says Manjula’s complaint of two eggs and five pieces of pav (bread) missing from the breakfast rations for her barrack triggered a horrific assault by jailors that led to her death.

There are other contradictions. The inquest panchnama by executive magistrate MS Khoprekar before panch witnesses Babdu Paad, a businessman from Tardeo, and Usha Kamble, a businesswoman from Nagpada, claims that there were no visible injuries on Manjula’s body. However, the post-mortem examination report states Manjula suffered 17 contusions on her lower body, face and skull.