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The police will file an application in the Ahmednagar district and sessions court, seeking legal action against the 13 witnesses who turned hostile in the Nitin Agey murder case. Ahmednagar Superintendent of Police Ranjan Kumar Sharma and prosecution lawyer Ramdas Gawali said Monday the state would challenge in the Bombay High Court the sessions court’s order acquitting all nine accused in the case.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, meanwhile, met Nitin’s father Raju Agey in Mumbai Monday and assured him of justice. The 17-year-old Dalit youth was brutally murdered at Kharda village in Karjat taluka of Ahmednagar on April 28, 2014, by a group of upper caste men who suspected a love affair between Nitin and a girl related to them. The police had arrested Sachin Golekar and Sheshrao Yeole, the girl’s brother and uncle, respectively, as main accused and eight others on charges of murder and also under relevant sections of the Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
One of the suspects died during the court trial. On November 23 this year, the Ahmednagar court acquitted the nine as the prosecution failed to submit sufficient evidence to prove the allegations. The prosecution had examined 26 witnesses, of which 14, including key eyewitnesses, turned hostile in court. The Juvenile Justice Board had earlier acquitted three minors also nabbed for their alleged role in the murder.
Raju Agey spoke to Fadnavis at the latter’s office in Mumbai in the presence of Rajya Sabha MP Amar Sable (BJP) and former corporator from Ahmednagar Manesh Sathe. “I asked CM, as all accused are acquitted, then who killed my son?…CM assured me legal action against witnesses who turned hostile in this case. The CM even spoke to superintendent of Ahmednagar police over phone about it. He said expert lawyer would be appointed as special public prosecutor in this case is the high court,” said Agey, while speaking to The Indian Express.
MP Sabale said request had also been made for rehabilitation of the victim’s family as per provisions of the law, and police protection for them. At a press conference in Ahmednagar, SP Ranjan Kumar Sharma and Advocate Ramdas Gawali said an application would be filed in the sessions court against the 13 witnesses who turned hostile. “The application has been sent to the law and judiciary department of the state in this regard,” said Gawali.
According to the police, suspecting Nitin’s affair with a girl from their caste, the accused persons started beating him on the premises of a local school run by the prestigious Rayat Shikshan Sanstha. From there, they allegedly took Nitin to Yeole’s brick kiln on a two-wheeler and assaulted him with a blunt wooden object on legs, before taking him into some bushes and strangulating him with a rope. They then allegedly hanged him from a tree to create an impression that he had committed suicide. An offence in this case was lodged at the Jamkhed police station. The police said among the witnesses who turned hostile were a relative of Raju Agey, two teachers and one non-teaching staffer of the school where Nitin was attacked.
The police said statements of eight important witnesses were recorded before the magistrate under Section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Court and hence legal action would be sought against them for turning hostile. Gawali said: “We tried our best. After the witnesses started turning hostile, we had informed the inspector at the Jamkhed police station. The police had then met the witnesses asking them to speak the
Agey, however, said the prosecution lawyer did not perform his duties well during the trial, due to which an expert and experienced lawyer should be appointed as special public prosecutor in the case.