Mumbai: A sessions court, while rejecting the fifth bail application of police constable Wasima Shaikh accused in the Manjula Shetye custodial death case this week, has in a detailed order cited “strong evidence on record” against her.
“Considering the evidence already recorded of the witnesses and material on record it appears, there is strong evidence on record,” Additional Sessions Judge Sonali P Agarwal said.
The order added that as Shaikh was a lady police staff of Byculla women’s prison, she can influence all witnesses who are inmates in the jail. Further, that while evidence of a prosecution witness was being recorded, a relative of the accused had threatened the witness and therefore, the possibility of the accused threatening the witnesses cannot be ruled out.
The court also said that the nature of the offence is serious and major and an active role is assigned to Shaikh and also that no other co-accused have been released on bail.
Shaikh’s advocates had produced a copy of the entries in the jail register which showed that Shaikh had left charge at a relevant time on the day of the incident and had gone away. It argued that if Manjula was injured, the other police constables would not have taken charge from her.
The court said that the register only states the time of arrival and departure and on its basis it cannot be held that Manjula was fit and fine.
Shaikh’s advocates had also contended that it is alleged that Shaikh had inserted a stick into Manjula’s private part, but no injury is noted in the injury report.
The court said that merely because no injury is reported in the genital, a jumping conclusion cannot be drawn that Manjula was not at all assaulted. Further, Judge Agarwal said it appears that statements of several witnesses (co-inmates) who had witnessed the incident have been recorded which clearly point to Shaikh’s complicity.
Shaikh along with five other police staff of Byculla women’s prison are facing trial for brutally assault and murder of Shetye who was serving life term in prison.
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