It was “drollery” that led to gruesome murder of Yakub Shaikh, an employee at the Toyota Service Centre in Cotton Green, the Mumbai Police has claimed. In its 300-page chargesheet, police uses the word “drollery” to describe the motive for accused Santosh Arekar allegedly killing his co-worker by inserting an air pump into his rectum.
The Oxford English dictionary defines droll as “oddly or strangely amusing” and drollery as “quaint humour”. In the pages which have statements in Marathi, the police have used the local word “maskari” as the motive.
The chargesheet was filed before the Mazgaon court on December 23. The alleged murder took place on September 29 last year.
The word appears first in the statement given by a 19-year-old witness, who worked in the washing-bay at the service centre, the section where the air pump was kept. The witness uses the term to describe the camaraderie between co-workers at the service centre.
A statement by the 18-year-old prime witness, who is also the complainant in the case, reads: “The air pipe was hanging on the wall on the right side. Yakub Shaikh had bent to clean the car. There used to be daily jokes and drollery between Yakub and Arekar… that time Arekar put the air pipe in the anus of Yakub.”
According to the second witness there were 17 workers present inside the station at the time of the incident. Twenty-four witnesses had recorded their statements under Section 164 of the CrPC before a magistrate.
Accounts of employees at the service centre mention the term “maskari” as they describe the conversation heard in the minutes leading up to the incident.
“We have mentioned the motive as banter between them. Let the courts decide what charges are applicable,” said D Ugale, senior inspector with the Kalachowkie police station.
However, sources privy to the probe said that while they were convinced that a murder case was made out, the motive was “unclear”.
Yakub’s daughter Shakia Shaikh told The Indian Express that the family wanted to know whether it was a hate crime or not.
“There were times my father would tell my mother about some ‘taunts’ he faced at work. Then we did not think much about it. However, in hindsight, we wonder if the nature of taunts had something to do with the murder, “ said Shakia, who is pursuing a masters degree in science.
The chargesheet also includes statements by Yakub Shaikh’s family members. In his statement, a family friend recalls his visit to the Kalachowkie police station where police said “mazak-masti” (tomfoolery) was the reason behind the incident.
During their probe, police also found that the three CCTV cameras, which were supposed to cover the spot where the crime took place, were not working for nearly 8 months.
In one of the statements, a witness too claimed that three cameras had not been working at the showroom and he had informed two persons responsible for the same to get them fixed, but nothing was done.