The Mumbai sessions court has issued a show cause notice to the investigating officer in the Khwaja Yunus custodial death case over the police failure to produce witnesses in the court for examination. Judge V S Padalkar issued the notice yesterday asking the senior officer of the Ghatkopar Police Station why action must not be initiated against him, after four key witnesses, who were supposed to be questioned, remained absent.
Chief public prosecutor in the case, Lata Chheda, urged the court to seek a reply from the police as to why witnesses could not be brought to the court despite summons having been issued to them earlier. The judge noted that on the previous date he had directed the police to submit a report to inform whether the witnesses had received those summons from the court or not.
On the previous date it was specifically directed to produce the witnesses as the matter is pending since long. This court has issued summons to witnesses and this fact was noted by the police officer concerned who was present, as the order was dictated in an open court, the judge said.
"The conduct of the senior police inspector (PI) for not filing the summons report is in disobedience of the order," the court observed. "The record clearly indicates that the police officer concerned has not taken proper care and caution to produce the witnesses and that he just wants to prolong the matter anyhow.
Issue show cause notice against senior PI as to why action should not be taken against him for non-filing of the summons report," it said. On December 2, 2002 the bomb blast occurred at the Ghatkopar Railway Station here killing two persons.
Yunus, a 27-year-old software engineer and an accused in the blast case, was arrested from Maharashtra's Parbhani district later that month. He died in police custody in 2003. So far only one witness, Dr Abdul Mateen, has deposed in the case.
During his deposition in January this year, Mateen, who was a co-accused in the blast case but was later acquitted of all charges, had told the court that Yunus had been brutally assaulted by four police officials of the Ghatkopar Crime Branch unit.
The prosecution alleged that Yunus was tortured in jail and this led to his death in the police custody. The police team that had arrested Yunus, however, claimed he escaped after the vehicle in which he was being transported met with an accident near Aurangabad (in Maharashtra) in January 2003.