The final forensic report of a shoeshiner from Churchgate, who died in March three days after he was picked up by the police for theft, could spell trouble for Arthur Road Jail authorities over allegations of custodial death. Blood reports and detailed forensic examination indicate Arvind Ramesh Shimpi (34) suffered an ‘unnatural death’ due to ‘head injury with liver cirrhosis’ on the morning of March 11.
Shimpi’s body continues to lie at the JJ hospital morgue, with his family repeatedly refusing to claim it until ‘proper investigations’ are conducted into his death. The family has registered a case in the Metropolitan Magistrate court against the Arthur Road Jail, and four hearings have been conducted in the matter so far.
According to forensic experts, the final cause of Shimpi’s death was reserved until the results of blood tests arrived to confirm if the 34-year-old suffered from any disease. “He did not suffer from any ailment that could directly lead to his death. The blood reports were clear. But his liver was found in an enlarged condition, which could be due to multiple factors,” a forensic expert said.
In the post-mortem, conducted two days after his death, Shimpi was found to have a fresh deep red bruise over his head that suggested he suffered from internal bleeding. The autopsy report also mentions contusion marks and scratches on his body. The injuries were found to be two or three days old at the time of autopsy. “Arvind was beaten up in the jail for no fault of his. Ever since his death, the police is not cooperating with us,” said his sister Rehana Shaikh, who changed her name after marriage. According to his brother Guddu Shimpi, a driver, Arvind had no injuries when he last saw him. “But when I was called to identify his body, it had several bruises,” he said.
Shimpi was picked up by the Azad Maidan Police on March 8 on charges of stealing a Nokia handset and Rs 200 from a passenger sleeping at Churchgate station. Shimpi, an alcoholic, had quarreled with his wife that day and decided to spend the night at the station. He worked as a shoeshiner.
According to a police officer from NM Joshi Marg police station, statements of jail authorities and family members have been recorded in this case. In his statement, the jail medical officer has claimed Shimpi suffered from high blood pressure and was being taken to JJ hospital for check-up when he died in the van. Currently, Shimpi’s widow Sunita lives on a pavement opposite Churchgate station with her three children, aged five, seven and six months. She has started selling jasmine garlands in trains.
In the complaint, the family has alleged they were informed of the Shimpi’s death 13 hours later. “Till then, I did not even know where he was for three days,” Sunita claimed.