Khwaja Yunus custodial death case: Bombay HC asks for suggestions for names of Special Public Prosecutor from mother

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. Mirajkar was appointed SPP in the case on September 7, 2015.

Urvi MahajaniUpdated: Tuesday, March 22, 2022, 08:06 PM IST
article-image
Bombay HC | Photo: Representative Image

With a view to re-start the trial in the custodial death case of Khwaja Yunus, an accused in 2002 Bombay blast case in a BEST bus in suburban Ghatkopar, the Bombay High Court on Tuesday asked Yunus’ mother, Asiya Begam, to suggest names of counsels who can be appointed as Special Public Prosecutor (SPP).

A division bench of justices PB Varale and SM Modak asked Begam’s counsel Mihir Desai to suggest names for SPP by April 19.

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. Mirajkar was appointed SPP in the case on September 7, 2015.

Begam has challenged the government's 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 deposed before the court claiming that he had seen Bhosale, the then assistant police inspector Hemant Desai and two other policemen assaulting Yunus in police lock-up.

Advocate General (AG) Ashutosh Kumbhkoni had informed the court earlier that Mirajkar told him that he did not wish to continue as SPP due to personal and health-related reasons.

Desai informed the HC that he had communicated with Mirajkar, who had confirmed 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, said Desai.

Mirajkar has sent an email to Desai clarifying his stand. Desai would be submitting a copy of the email in an affidavit by April 19.

"Despite stiff resistance from police and executive (regarding custodial death), … FIR was filed after HC intervention. Three SPPs have resigned and this (Mirajkar) was fourth (SPP)," said Desai.

Desai expressed apprehension that whoever was appointed as SPP could come under pressure and hence there was a need to appoint an independent prosecutor.

"He (Mirajkar) wanted to join police officers as accused. Immediately he was removed. Tomorrow someone else will be appointed (as SPP), he will face a similar situation. This needs to be looked into," argued Desai.

AG pointed out to the court that the trial was held up as the government had made a statement in HC that they would not appoint an SPP till the matter is pending in HC. Besides, the Supreme Court has expedited the trial.

(To receive our E-paper on whatsapp daily, please click here. To receive it on Telegram, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)

RECENT STORIES

COVID-19: Mask becomes mandatory in Delhi, no fine if travelling in personal car

COVID-19: Mask becomes mandatory in Delhi, no fine if travelling in personal car

Mumbai updates: City, suburbs back to no rainfall warning

Mumbai updates: City, suburbs back to no rainfall warning

CBI arrests Mamata Banerjee's aide TMC leader Anubrata Mondal in cattle smuggling scam

CBI arrests Mamata Banerjee's aide TMC leader Anubrata Mondal in cattle smuggling scam

Rahul Gandhi slams Modi's: Stop lowering dignity of PM post by talking about 'black magic'

Rahul Gandhi slams Modi's: Stop lowering dignity of PM post by talking about 'black magic'

Mumbai: Vihar lake overflows after downpour across city in last 48 hours

Mumbai: Vihar lake overflows after downpour across city in last 48 hours