Dubai: The custodial death of a Dubai-based Indian engineer has come back to haunt Mumbai police after 17 years.
Khwaja Yunus, who worked as a software engineer in Dubai, was allegedly killed by Mumbai police in 2003 shortly after being arrested on terrorism charges. He was 27.
Four Mumbai police officers were subsequently suspended and charged with murder and destruction of evidence. However, all four were reinstated last month following a decision by a review committee headed by the Mumbai police chief. On Saturday, they resumed duty in the city’s armed forces, much to the chagrin of Khwaja’s mum Asiya Begum. The 72-year-old has now challenged the move in court and sought contempt proceedings against the Mumbai police chief and a home department official for violating the 2004 High Court order which directed the Mumbai government to suspend the four cops and probe their role in the custodial death of her son.
On Friday, the Bombay High Court directed Mumbai police commissioner to respond to the petition within two weeks.
Yunus, was arrested with three others under the Prevention of Terrorism Act on December 25, 2002. Mumbai Police claimed he was involved in a bomb blast in the city’s Ghatkopar area on December 2 that year.
Yunus was last seen with the other three men on January 6, 2003 when they complained of brutal torture. Mumbai police said later said that Yunus had escaped from custody. However, a probe by the criminal investigation department (CID) revealed that he was murdered in police custody. The three men arrested with Yunus were acquitted of all charges and four policemen including assistant inspector Sachin Vaze and constables Rajendra Tiwari, Sunil Desai and Rajaram Nikam were suspended and a probe was ordered against them.
They are still facing trial.
Addressing a division of bench through video conferencing, Begum’s lawyer said that despite the order, no disciplinary inquiry was conducted against any of the four accused. Insteadd, the review committee headed by the commissioner of police recommended the revocation of the suspension and reinstatement of the four accused. This, the lawyer argued, amounted to “wilful contempt and disobedience of the orders High Court”.