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THE FAMILY of 15-year-old Swapnil Sonawane has written to the Navi Mumbai police commissioner seeking criminal action against two Nerul police officers. In her three-page letter to Commissioner of Police Hemant Nagrale, Swapnil’s mother Gauri Sonawane has said her son would not have lost his life had the police intervened in the case.
Swapnil was murdered on July 19 allegedly by the family of the girl he was in a relationship with. The girl belongs to a different caste.
Gauri has said in her letter she had gone to the police station on July 18 and 19 along with Swapnil but the officials there did not pay heed to their complaints.
“When I was at the police station, sub-inspector Sonali Rajguru insulted and intimidated me and helped the girl’s family escape criminal action as well as in destroying evidence,” the letter says.
On July 18, Swapnil was allegedly beaten up in an autorickshaw and forcefully taken to the police station by the girl’s brother and his associates. Gauri was then summoned to the Nerul police station. The following day, Swapnil’s father Shahaji also approached the police station but no complaint was registered. Swapnil was allegedly killed a few hours later.
“The police would have seen that the boy was beaten up and they knew the caste of both parties. A case under the Prevention of Atrocities Act and for assaulting and kidnapping Swapnil should have been registered by the police. This was not done. Instead, his mother was made to sign a paper to say if something were to happen to him nobody would be responsible. This warrants a criminal case against the officials involved,” said advocate Amit Katarnaware, who is representing Swapnil’s family.
Gauri has sought a case under Sections 304 (A) (causing death due to negligence), 166 (public servant disobeying law, with intent to cause injury to any person), 221 (intentional omission to apprehend), 201 (destruction of evidence) and 109 (punishment for abetment) under the Indian Penal Code against the officers. Rajguru and another officer Yogesh Mane were suspended last week for dereliction of duty.
The letter also seeks an inquiry to find out if the two police officers were paid any money by the accused, or had any direct or indirect involvement in the murder conspiracy.
“We are examining the CCTV footage from the police station and will also be recording statements of the other police officials present at the Nerul police station on 18th and 19th. If the inquiry finds wilful neglect by them in registering the complaint made by the victim’s parents or them having helped the accused, legal advice will be taken to decide on further action against them,” said a senior officer from the Navi Mumbai Crime Branch. The officer added that they had so far not recorded statements of the two suspended officials.
On Sunday, a condolence meet was held at the SBOA colony where the Sonawanes live. Family members and others gathered there sought death penalty for the accused. So far, 10 accused have been arrested and three minors detained in the case. The 13 include the girl, her parents, brother and his accomplices. The 10 accused will be in police custody till July 27.