Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Monday ordered a judicial inquiry into custodial death of an undertrial in Thane prison in 2008, noting that it was a serious matter.
A bench headed by Justice B H Marlapalle asked Chief Judicial Magistrate of Thane to probe the custodial death of Robert Almeida and submit a report on February 28. The HC also asked the Maharashtra Government to file an affidavit within four weeks on the status of investigations since January 2008 when the custodial death occurred in the prison in adjoining Thane.
Almeida was arrested on charges of assaulting his father. He was granted bail, but did not avail of this facility as a result of which he was placed in judicial custody.
Some prisoners wrote a letter to the High Court complaining that they had witnessed a jail guard beating Almeida on the day of his arrest. They further alleged that he was done to death by the guard who kicked him repeatedly and beat him with sticks.
The HC had converted this letter into a petition and gave notice to the Government to file its response.
It also asked the state to inform how many custodial deaths had occurred in Maharashtra from 2001 to 2009, to which the authorities stated the number as 192. The state further informed that 24 custodial deaths had taken place in 2008 and 2009.