The family of Mohsin Shaikh — a 28-year-old man in Pune who was murdered in June 2014 allegedly by members of the Hindu Rashtra Sena (HRS) — has written to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, seeking appointment of Ujjwal Nikam as a public prosecutor to oppose the bail petition of the main accused— Dhananjay Desai. Desai’s bail application is scheduled to be heard by the Bombay High Court on February 1. The letter, written by Mohsin’s father Mohammed Sadiq Shaikh, states that Desai, who allegedly instigated the attack has on many occasions tried to disturb the “peace and brotherhood” between Hindus and Muslims for his personal benefit. The letter says that for maintaining peace and harmony, it was important that Desai be punished.
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“He must not be granted bail at any cost for our safety and safety of all innocent people. As we all know Shri Ujjwal Nikam is the most capable public prosecutor in India who is handling this case at sessions court in Pune also. In view of above I request your honour to appoint Nikam as the public prosecutor for our case to appear for hearing on February 1 and thereafter,” according to the letter. The high court had earlier rejected the bail plea of prime accused Desai.
On January 12, however, the Bombay High Court had granted bail to three out of 21 arrested in the case. In her January 12 order, Justice Mridula Bhatkar observed that “the fault of the deceased was only that he belonged to another religion. I consider this factor in favour of the applicants/accused. Moreover, the applicants/accused do not have any criminal record and it appears that in the name of the religion, they were provoked and have committed the murder.”
Mohsin’s family now plans to move the Supreme Court against the grant of bail to the accused — of the 21 accused, 14 have been granted bail so far. Mohsin, who worked in a Pune firm, was attacked on his way home after offering prayers at a masjid on the night of June 2, 2014. His friend, Riyaz Ahmed Mubarak Shendure, was with him when they were targeted, allegedly by HRS members protesting an alleged Facebook post of some derogatory pictures of Chhatrapati Shivaji and Bal Thackeray.
Later, a case of murder was registered at the Hadapsar police station and 21 HRS members, including their leader Dhananjay Jayram Desai alias Bhai, were arrested. The state had then appointed Ujjwal Nikam as a prosecutor in