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The family of techie Mohsin Shaikh, who was murdered allegedly by members of the Hindu Rashtra Sena (HRS), has made a written request to the Maharashtra chief minister and the law and judiciary department for appointing senior lawyer Rohini Salian as the special public prosecutor (SPP) in the case. Salian had hit the headlines after she openly made allegations that the NIA asked her to go soft on Hindu extremists accused in the 2008 Malegaon blasts case.
Following a request by advocate Ujjwal Nikam, the state government had on May 19 this year cancelled his appointment as the SPP in the Mohsin Shaikh murder case. It may be recalled that following communal clashes sparked by circulation of objectionable pictures of Shivaji Maharaj and Bal Thackeray on social media, a group of men linked to the HRS had allegedly murdered Mohsin in Hadapsar around 9.15 pm on June 2, 2014. Police had arrested as many as 21 HRS activists, including their leader Dhanajay Jayram Desai alias Bhai, in the murder case.
Some of the accused are out on bail. Desai is still lodged in Yerawada Central Prison. The case is currently pending before the sessions court in Pune. Mohsin’s father Mohamed Sadique Shaikh had requested the then Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan for appointing Nikam as the SPP. Mohamed Shaikh said Nikam’s appointment as the SPP was a sign of justice, whereas his sudden withdrawal was shocking. 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 on whether to take it or not.”
Despite repeated attempts, Nikam was not available for comment. In a letter dated June 16, 2017, Mohamed Shaikh wrote to the Maharashtra CM and the law and judiciary department requesting for appointing Salian as the SPP. He stressed that immediate confirmation of the request was needed as the next hearing of the case at the session’s court in Pune was on June 19. “I called up the Mantralaya today, but I was told it will take 21 days for action to be taken on my letter,” he said.
In the absence of SPP, advocate Kazi S H S represented Mobin Shaikh, brother of Mohsin, in the sessions court on Monday and submitted the copy of the letter before sessions judge J T Utpat, which was filed by Mohsin’s father for appointment of Salian as the SPP in the matter. Meanwhile, Desai’s lawyer Milind Pawar moved an application seeking provisional bail for him. “It has been about three years that Desai was arrested and still charges have not been framed. Now, there is a further delay because the SPP has not been appointed.
Due to the absence of SPP, the hearing on bail application did not happen today. So we moved an application that showcause notices should be issued to the law and judiciary department, the investigation officer of the case and the district government pleader (DGP). Accordingly, the court has issued a notice to the DGP, Pune,” said advocate Pawar. The court fixed July 4 as the next date of hearing.