The family of Mohsin Shaikh, who was allegedly murdered by members of a right-wing group in June 2014, told a Pune sessions court on Monday that they had requested the state government to appoint Rohini Salian as public prosecutor in the case. On June 12, the previous public prosecutor appointed by the state government, Ujjwal Nikam, wrote to the court, saying he was withdrawing from the case.
“The intervener’s father has written a letter to the Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on June 16. In this letter, the intervener’s father and family have demanded appointment of Rohini Salian as special public prosecutor in the case,” reads a petition filed in the court by advocate S H S Kazi, who is representing Mobin Shaikh, the victim’s brother and an intervener in the case.
The court was to hear a provisional bail plea filed by main accused Dhananjay Desai, chief of the Hindu Rashtra Sena, citing ill-health.
The petition is now unlikely to proceed till the state government appoints a new public prosecutor.
Salian has represented the state in various cases, including several related to terror. She made headlines when she withdrew as public prosecutor in the 2008 Malegaon blast trial, alleging that the National Investigation Agency had told her to “go soft” in the case.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Salian said, “Some people have approached me in this regard. I will be taking a closer look at the details of the case before taking a decision.”
Mohsin Shaikh, who worked with a Pune-based firm, was killed on June 2, 2014, while he was on his way home after offering prayers at a mosque.
His friend Riyaz Ahmed Mubarak Shendure was with him when they were attacked, allegedly by Hindu Rashtra Sena members, over a Facebook post with derogatory pictures of Chhatrapati Shivaji and Bal Thackeray. On the request of Mohsin Shaikh’s father Sadique Shaikh, the then Congress-led state government had decided to appoint Nikam as a prosecutor in August 2014.
The state’s case is against 21 members of the Hindu Rashtra Sena, including their leader Dhananjay Jayram Desai, who were arrested for the murder. Over the past year, a bulk of the accused have been granted bail by the Bombay High Court with only five, including Desai, still in jail.