Mumbai: In a relief to ten police officers,
the Bombay High Court on Tuesday rejected a plea to prosecute them
for the custodial death of POTA detainee Khwaja Yunus in 2003,
but increased by Rs 17 lakh the compensation amount to be
given to his mother Aasiya Begum.
Hearing a petition filed by Khwaja`s mother, Justice AM
Khanvilkar and Justice PD Kode turned down her plea to
prosecute ten police officers, who were let off by Maharashtra
government in the case of the custodial death of Khwaja Yunus.
However, the judges said they were inclined to grant Rs 20
lakh compensation to the victim`s mother, an increase of Rs 17
lakh from the meagre amount awarded by the lower court.
Aasia Begum had filed a petition seeking adequate
compensation from the state government and demanding trial of
police officers, who were allegedly responsible for her son`s
death in custody.
Her lawyer Mihir Desai said in cases of custodial death,
it is very difficult to get witnesses or collect evidence.
Desai said it was for the court to decide whether the
statement of the eyewitness was credible enough to result in
Desai pointed out that police officers had lied about
they being elsewhere when Yunus was allegedly beaten to death
in custody, as shown by their cell phone records.
At present, only four policemen -- API Sachin Vaze and
constables Rajendra Tiwari, Rajaram Nikam and Vasant Desai --
are facing trial on charges of murder of Yunus and destruction
The government had earlier refused sanction to prosecute
10 other police officers.
Yunus, a software engineer working in a Dubai-based
company, was arrested by police for his alleged involvement in
a bomb blast in a BEST bus outside suburban Ghatkopar station
on December 02, 2002.
In January 2003, police claimed that he escaped while
being taken to Aurangabad when the police jeep met with an
accident. But a CID probe indicated that this was a "false
story" and Yunus had died in police custody.