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Mumbai inmate death: You left no stone unturned to make it seem like an accident, HC tells cops

The Mumbai jail inmate was stripped inside a barrack, after which staffers inserted a lathi (stick) into her private parts and left her unconscious, said a fellow inmate

mumbai Updated: Jul 24, 2017 14:41 IST
Kanchan Chaudhari
Kanchan Chaudhari
Hindustan Times
Mumbai jail,Byculla Jail,prison riot
On June 23, ManjulaShetye was allegedly assaulted to death by jail officials.(HT)

Attacking Byculla Jail officials, the Bombay high court said they had “left no stone unturned to make the death of inmate Majula Shetye seem like an accident”. It added that they were attempting to “shield somebody”.

On Monday, a bench of justices RM Sawant and Sadhana Jadhav took aim at the shoddy probe into Shetye’s death, which the state claimed was “accidental”. The court was hearing a public interest litigation filed by Mumbaiite Pradeep Bhalekar.

On June 23, Shetye was allegedly assaulted to death by jail officials.

A fellow prisoner told the police that Shetye was brutally assaulted for complaining that two eggs and five pieces of bread were missing from the morning rations.

She said Shetye was stripped inside the barrack, after which jail staffers inserted a lathi (stick) into her private parts. Shetye was left in unconscious for a while. After a resident doctor was consulted, she was admitted to JJ Hospital, where she was declared dead.

The case was transferred to the crime branch, who arrested jailer Manisha Pokharkar, and constables Bindu Naikade, Waseema Shaikh, Shital Shegaonkar, Surekha Gulve and Aarti Shingne. The six are currently in judicial custody.

The bench said they were angered by the jailers’ initial record, which stated that Shetye was brought to JJ Hospital after she fell unconscious and collapsed in one of the jail’s bathrooms. The Nagpada police station had registered a case of accidental death based on this record.

The bench said they were even more angered by the doctor at JJ Hospital who had issued a certificate, which said “no obvious external injuries were observed” on Shetye’s body.

By contrast, post-mortem reports revealed there were 13 to 16 contusions on the body.

The jail guards were only booked for assault after other inmates staged massive protests, and the post-mortem report revealed the extent of her injuries.

“This is not about just one person, it is in the larger interest of society,” the bench said.

First Published: Jul 24, 2017 14:41 IST