The state government Wednesday informed the Bombay High Court that the Home department had granted permission to initiate action against the eight Government Railway Police (GRP) personnel accused in the 2014 custodial death of Agnello Valdaris, a 24-year-old man from Wadala.
The government’s submissions came when a Bench of Justice V M Kanade and Justice Revati Mohite-Dere was hearing a petition filed by Valdaris’s father. Leonard Valdaris’s son Agnelo was allegedly killed while he was in custody of the Wadala Railway Police for stealing a gold chain and a ring.
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While the police claimed Valdaris had attempted to flee a few days after his arrest and was run over by a local train while crossing a track, his father alleged that Valdaris died in police custody and sought a CBI probe.
The three co-accused in the case, including a minor, also became co-petitioners in the plea filed by Valdaris’ father and alleged that they had been subjected to torture and sexual abuse while in custody.He said, “I am not satisfied with the chargesheet that the CBI has submitted. My contention is that they should have arrested the eight officers earlier but now it is out of reach. The accused have destroyed all the evidence. I do not think I will get justice from CBI. I will rely on the court which will push the CBI to work.”
The HC had transferred the case to the CBI last year. Appearing for the CBI, special public prosecutor Sandeep Shinde informed the court that the agency had already filed a chargesheet against the erring policemen under various sections of the IPC but sought two months’ time from the court to investigate and determine if these cops should also be charged under Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000.
Additional Public Prosecutor Mankunwar Deshmukh further informed the court that it would submit monthly reports before the court pertaining to the number of custodial deaths in police stations across Maharashtra. The state CID will submit such reports to the HC’s judicial registrar so that the court can directly monitor the situation.
Deshmukh further informed the court that a two-member committee has been constituted to carry out a study and find a solution to ensure that custodial deaths do not take place in Maharashtra. The report will be submitted within three months.