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Manjula Shetye murder: Inmate’s underclothes bloodstained, but she had no injuries, says charge sheet

The charge sheet (HT has a copy) reflects the lackadaisical attitude of police officials in securing the crime spot and gathering evidence

mumbai Updated: Oct 04, 2017 08:40 IST
Charul Shah
Charul Shah
Hindustan Times
Byculla Jail,Manjula Shetye,Mumbai Crime Branch
Hindustan Times had first reported that a witness had told the police that Manjula Shetye, jailed for murder, had died after she was assaulted by jailors who had inserted a lathi in her privates.

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 first information report (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 (HT has a copy) reflects the lackadaisical attitude of police officials in securing the crime spot and 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 --

Manisha Pokharkar, Bindu Naikade, Waseema Shaikh, Shital Shegaonkar, Surekha Gulve and Aarti Shingne -- 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.

According to the case details, the trouble started at around 9 am on June 23, when Manjula found that the rations fell short by two eggs and five pieces of pav (bread). Manjula was called to the jail officer, Manisha Pokharkar’s private room. The witness said in her statement that she heard Manjula scream in pain and that when she returned to the barrack after a while, she was visibly in pain.

The witness said that soon a group of jailors came to the barrack and assaulted Manjula once again. The witness said Manjula was stripped by women constables she identified as Bindu Naikade, Waseema Shaikh, Shital Shegaonkar, Surekha Gulve and Aarti Shingne.

The witness said that Bindu and Surekha then held Manjula’s legs apart and Waseema inserted the lathi into her private parts.

Manjula was left bleeding in the barrack, and no help was offered by the jail authorities, the witness said. It was only after Manjula fell unconscious in the bathroom that she was taken to the resident doctor at the jail who immediately asked for her to be transferred to JJ Hospital. Manjula died at the hospital.

First Published: Oct 04, 2017 00:37 IST