Seeking action against the Mumbai Police chief and principal secretary of the state home department for contempt of court, the mother of 27-year-old Khwaja Yunus, who allegedly died in police custody, has approached the Bombay High Court in connection with the reinstatement of four suspended cops facing trial in the custodial death case.
Asiya Begam, 72, has prayed in her plea filed through her lawyer that the two be held guilty for contempt of the 2004 High Court order that directed the state government to suspend the four policemen and initiate a disciplinary inquiry. The petition states that the suspension of Assistant Inspector Sachin Vaze and three constables, Rajendra Tiwari, Sunil Desai and Rajaram Nikam, was revoked earlier this month without taking any steps for such an inquiry and without taking permission of the HC.
“It is surprising as to how the state government, which alleges conspiracy and murder on officers and has filed a chargesheet against them, revokes the suspension and reinstates the accused that too without any application of mind, leave alone departmental inquiry,” the petition states.
Yunus, an engineer who worked in Dubai, was on a holiday to meet his family in November 2002. He, along with three others, was arrested under the Prevention of Terrorism Act on December 25, 2002. Police had alleged that they were involved in a bomb blast in Ghatkopar on December 2. The four men were interrogated and Yunus was last seen on January 6, 2003 by the other three.
According to police, a team led by Vaze was travelling with Yunus to Aurangabad between January 6 and 7, 2003, and that he had managed to escape when the jeep fell into a gorge.
An FIR was filed against Yunus. His father, however, filed a habeas corpus petition in the HC, stating that the three others witnessed Yunus being tortured in custody and there must be a probe into his disappearance. The three, who were subsequently acquitted, had submitted to the POTA court that they had witnessed Yunus being assaulted.
When the CID took over the probe after the HC order, it concluded that Vaze had filed a “false and malicious” complaint against Yunus, claiming that he had escaped.
The CID also arrested Vaze and three constables on charges, including murder and destruction of evidence.
The petition states that Vaze had submitted his resignation from the force in 2007-08. It states that Vaze, who had briefly joined the Shiv Sena, was reinstated “immediately after the (Shiv Sena) party came to power in Maharashtra”. A notice was issued on June 5 stating that the four policemen had been reinstated after a decision by a review committee chaired by Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh.
Naming Singh, Amitabh Gupta, Principal Secretary of the Home department, the CID, the review committee and the state government as respondents, the petition states that revoking the suspension is a “wilful and intentional” contempt and seeks action. It also seeks withdrawal of the June 5 order reinstating the policemen.
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