In a relief to 10 police officers,the Bombay High Court today rejected a plea to prosecute them for the custodial death of POTA detainee Khwaja Yunus in 2003,but increased by Rs 17 lakh the compensation amount to be given to his mother Aasiya Begum.
Hearing a petition filed by Khwaja’s mother,Justice A M Khanvilkar and Justice P D Kode turned down her plea to prosecute ten police officers,who were let off by Maharashtra government in the case of the custodial death of Khwaja Yunus.
However,the judges said they were inclined to grant Rs 20 lakh compensation to the victim’s mother,an increase of Rs 17 lakh from the meagre amount awarded by the lower court.
Aasia Begum had filed a petition seeking adequate compensation from the state government and demanding trial of police officers,who were allegedly responsible for her son’s death in custody.
Her lawyer Mihir Desai said in cases of custodial death,it is very difficult to get witnesses or collect evidence. Desai said it was for the court to decide whether the statement of the eyewitness was credible enough to result in conviction.
Desai pointed out that police officers had lied about they being elsewhere when Yunus was allegedly beaten to death in custody,as shown by their cell phone records.
At present,only four policemen — API Sachin Vaze and constables Rajendra Tiwari,Rajaram Nikam and Vasant Desai are facing trial on charges of murder of Yunus and destruction
The government had earlier refused sanction to prosecute 10 other police officers.
Yunus,a software engineer working in a Dubai-based company,was arrested by police for his alleged involvement in a bomb blast in a BEST bus outside suburban Ghatkopar station
on December 02,2002.
In January 2003,police claimed that he escaped while being taken to Aurangabad when the police jeep met with an accident. But a CID probe indicated that this was a “false story” and Yunus had died in police custody.
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