A Metropolitan Magistrate’s Court in Kurla has directed the Mumbai Police to initiate fresh probe into the death of a 50-year-old man two years after a closure report was filed stating that his death was due to a road accident. The magistrate also directed the police to submit a progress report of the investigation within 90 days. This comes after the wife of the deceased had filed a petition in the Bombay High Court saying that the deeath could not have been an accident. The high court had then asked her to approach the magistrate’s court.
The deceased, Krishna Munankar, was found bleeding near a defunct petrol pump in Chembur around 9.15pm on December 11, 2013, beside his motorbike. He was rushed to Surana Sethia Hospital where he breathed his last. The hospital had concluded that he had died of haemorrhagic shock due to polytrauma. Munankar, owner of a printing press, was believed to be returning to his Lower Parel home after dropping two colleagues home in Chembur the night the incident occurred.
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Magistrate B U Chaudhari of the Kurla court also ordered the Chunabhatti police station on September 22 to hand over the probe to another investigating officer, after noting that his wife Karuna “had raised serious doubts over the competence of the investigating officer.”
According to the police, an eyewitness had claimed to have seen a white cement-mixer hitting the handlebars of Munankar’s bike, causing him to fall off the bike. A post-mortem conducted at Sion Hospital revealed that Munankar had no injuries apart from fractured ribs on the right side of the ribcage and lacerations on both thighs. But doctors conducting the autopsy had noted a laceration on his scrotum, a missing left testicle and a crushed right one.
The autopsy report led Munankar’s wife Karuna to believe that her husband had not died in a road accident.
“Can this sort of injury be caused in a road accident? We fear that Munankar was tortured and murdered at some unknown location and then dumped near the defunct petrol pump,” said Advocate L N Karde, who is representing Karuna.
An RTO inspector who inspected Munankar’s bike noted in his report there was no damage to the vehicle besides a “slight scratch on the right side leg guard,” and in reply to a police query, had said the accident was not the result of a mechanical defect. Around six months after the death, the police filed a closure report in the Kurla court in May 2014, stating that “there was no possibility in the future of finding the driver of the truck, which allegedly caused the accident.” The court accepted the police’s report in July 2014.
In the past three months, Karde argued that there were no wounds on Munankar’s body to explain the police’s theory of the accident. “Someone had smashed and crushed the victim’s private parts with some metallic objects,” Karde’s application had stated, adding that no efforts have been made to trace the missing testicle till date.
He has sought a probe by a neutral agency such as the Maharashtra Criminal Investigation Department or the Crime Branch of Mumbai Police.