The court has also awarded a compensation of Rs5 lakh to the bereaved family of the labourer Shaikh Muhammed Shaikh Rustam
MUMBAI — The Bombay High Court has found the four policemen responsible for the custodial death of a labourer Shaikh Muhammed Shaikh Rustam and ordered to book them for the crime. The court has also awarded a compensation of Rs5 lakh to the bereaved family of the labourer and directed the Maharashtra government to conduct CBI probe and submit the report within four months.
The Aurangabad bench of Bombay High Court ordered registration of case of murder against head constable Shankar Rathod, Naiks ND Misal and RV Fufate and constable police driver Yeole posted at Shivaji Nagar police station of Beed district in 2015 for the custodial death of Shaikh Muhammed who was detained on charge of mobile phones theft.
Court also ordered to register a suo motu contempt proceedings against one of the policemen for violating the mandatory directions of the Supreme Court regarding arrests and detentions.
The Bombay High Court order comes while deliberating a petition filed by the widow of Shaikh Muhammed Shaikh Rustam, Shaikh Shama and relatives praying for a CBI probe into his death due to severe injuries and fracture of the skull and asked for the registration of criminal case against the responsible policemen besides compensation
On August 26, 2015, Shaikh Muhammed had left his house about 7 am in search of work. Same day his brother had received a phone call from his friend informing him that Shaikh Muhammed was seriously injured and had been hospitalized by policemen at Civil Hospital, Kaij town of Beed.
When Shaikh Muhammed’s relatives reached to the hospital, the policemen were shifting him to SRTR hospital at Ambajogai city. He was unconscious and kept on a ventilator with blood oozing from his mouth, ears and nose. On arrival at SRTR hospital, the doctors declared him brought dead.
Police told the family that Shaikh Muhammed was involved in several cases of mobile phone theft and sustained injuries when he attempted to escape from custody by jumping off police van while being transported to Koregaon.
However, the family members of the deceased labourer did not believe the police version of the story and moved the high court after the case made no headway despite a departmental inquiry.
Shaikh Rustam was brought to the police station at about 7.30am but there was no entry in police register, nor he was kept in the police lock-up, noted the bench.
The bench noted that Shaikh Muhammed was tied to the table in the police station in the most inhuman manner till he was taken to his native place village Koregaon for recovery of mobile handsets reported stolen in various cases registered with the same police station.
The bench came across various ambiguities in the police version of the report and noted that the real brother of the complainant Tejas Neharkar, who had filed complaint of mobile phone theft, was working as a police constable and the inquiry officer, Deputy Superintendent of Police, Beed, had also passed some adverse remarks about him.
Raising question on the report of the inquiry officer, the bench said, “We do not find that the Inquiry Officer/Deputy Superintendent of Police, C.I.D. Beed, has applied his mind to the facts and circumstances emerged during the course of inquiry. So also the report submitted by the Sub-Divisional Magistrate is nothing but in verbatim re-production of observations made by the Inquiry Officer/Deputy Superintendent of Police, C.I.D. Beed.”
Court also doubted version of independent witnesses who claimed to have seen the deceased attempting to escape from police custody.