Khawaja Yunus custodial death case: Pradip Gharat appointed as special public prosecutor

Trial has been at a standstill since April 2018

Urvi MahajaniUpdated: Thursday, June 16, 2022, 08:19 AM IST
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Khawaja Yunus custodial death case: Pradip Gharat appointed as special public prosecutor | ANI File Photo

After more than four years, trial is likely to restart in the custodial death case of Khwaja Yunus, an accused in 2002 Bombay blast case in a BEST bus in suburban Ghatkopar, with the appointment of Pradip Gharat as the special public prosecutor (SPP) in the case.

The trial in the custodial death case has been at a standstill since April 16, 2018, after the state government removed Dhiraj Mirajkar as SPP. He was appointed SPP in the case on September 7, 2015.

Gharat told FPJ that he received the notification by the government appointing as SPP on Tuesday.

Gharat has been appointed as an SPP in several high profile cases, with the recent one being the case against Independent MP Navneet Rana and her MLA husband Ravi Rana and case of alleged attempt to murder against BJP MLA Nitesh Rane. He has also appeared as SPP for the Central Bureau of Investigation in cases against Chhota Rajan.

Gharat’s appointment comes following another legal battle by Yunus’ mother, Asiya Begam, who filed a plea in the Bombay High Court seeking for the continuation of Mirajkar as SPP. Begam has challenged government notice terminating his service as SPP alleging that the same was done after he made an application before the sessions court seeking summons to be issued against retired police officer Praful Bhosale and three other policemen and make them face trial on murder charges. The application was filed after key prosecution witness, Mohammed Abdul Mateen, had deposed before the court claiming that he had seen Bhosale, then assistant police inspector Hemant Desai and two other policemen assault Yunus in police lock-up.

However, Mirajkar informed Begam’s counsel, Mihir Desai, about his unwillingness to continue as SPP. He (Mirajkar) said that it would not be appropriate for the government to reappoint him after all that has transpired. Also, it would not be appropriate on his part to continue as SPP.

The next date for trial in the sessions court is August 3.

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