SENIOR lawyer Rohini Salian has written to the family of techie Mohsin Shaikh, agreeing to their request to take up the case of his murder as a special public prosecutor. The family had requested her to take up the case after the sudden withdrawal of advocate Ujjwal Nikam. The state government had cancelled Nikam’s appointment as special public prosecutor (SPP) on May 19, following a request from him. Shaikh was allegedly beaten to death by members of radical organisation Hindu Rashtra Sena (HRS) in Pune on June 2 in 2014.
Salian had hit the headlines after she openly made allegations that the National Investigation Agency (NIA) asked her to go soft on Hindu extremists accused in 2008 Malegaon blast case. A group of men associated with HRS had allegedly murdered Shaikh in Hadapsar in the wake of communal clashes after the circulation of doctored images of Chhatrapati Shivaji and Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray on social media. Police had arrested 21 HRS activists, including their leader Dhanajay Jayram Desai alias Bhai, in the murder case.
While some of the accused are already out on bail, Desai is still lodged in Yerwada Central Prison. The case is currently pending before the sessions court in Pune. After Nikam’s withdrawal, Shaikh’s family had written to the Law and Justice department of the state government, requesting Salian’s appointment as SPP in the case. Salian said, “I have agreed to take up the case, but my appointment is subject to the notification from the government in this regard.”