Manjula Shetye death: Accused prison police seek bail

Mumbai: After spending hardly 25 days in jail, all six women jail officials, who are accused of assaulting and killing convict Manjula Shetye, have now approached the Sessions Court. The accused have sought bail citing the preliminary conclusion that Shetye’s death was ‘accidental’ as stated by crime branch before the Bombay High Court. These accused women, including jailor Manisha Pokharkar, have approached the court through their advocate Pankaj Bafna. Their bail pleas would be heard in the first week of August.

While speaking to the Free Press Journal, Bafna confirmed the news saying that they have cited several grounds for bail. He said, “Our case has not changed a single inch and we are still relying on the same ground that we cited while opposing the remand.” Taking advantage of the crime branch’s investigations, the accused have relied on the agency’s recent submission before the HC. The agency had on Monday informed the HC that Shetye’s death was accidental as she had collapsed and become unconscious before her death.

“The Crime Branch has stated before the HC that Shetye’s death was accidental. This speaks volumes and so we our relying on this fact which was unearthed during the investigations. We have also relied on the fact that there are discrepancies in the versions of the alleged incident as stated by the inmates before the police,” Bafna said. Bafna has also trashed the entire claim that a stick was inserted in Shetye’s private parts.
He said, “Nothing like this (inserting stick) took place and whatever is being said is just a cooked up story. No stick was inserted.”

The accused are hopeful that an alibi would help in protecting them. “The main evidence is that when Shetye died, none of my clients were present in the jail premises. Rather, they all were in their respective homes. This itself shows the non-inclusion of my clients,” Bafna said.
In their bail pleas, the accused have urged the court to release them on bail as they have minor children some of whom are infants and are only surviving on mother’s milk. The application also cites the report submitted by the magistrate, who had visited the Byculla jail on the very day Shetye died.

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