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Archives for : December2018

Mumbai- Cops probe if murder on upcountry train was outcome of sexual assault #Vaw


A robbery bid does not seem to be the sole motive behind the murder of a homemaker from Gujarat on an express train last week. The government railway police (GRP) are considering whether an attempt was made to sexually assault her, which could have ended in murder as she fought back (the FIR mentions this possibility). An autopsy revealed that the woman was stabbed in her private parts. Investigators have also recovered a man’s shirt, cap and kerchief from the coach, which they believe could belong to the killer.

The woman, aged 40, was travelling by the Bhuj-Dadar Superfast Express last Friday. She boarded the ladies compartment around 8.20am at Surat; the compartment has only 20 berths. Between Surat and Dadar, the train halts only at Vasai and Borivli, where all other passengers from the compartment got off. When the train reached Dadar at noon, the woman’s body, in the nude, was found on the floor, though covered with a saree. Her throat had been slit and there was blood all over. The police later learnt that she was wearing a gold chain and earrings, which were missing.

A forensic expert from BYL Nair Hospital, where the woman’s autopsy was carried out, told TOI that she was stabbed in her privates. “As the crime scene was covered in blood and her body injured badly, we couldn’t establish whether she was a victim of sexual assault. We have sent her vaginal swabs to the Forensic Science Laboratory, Kalina. If semen stains are found, it will indicate rape,” he said. The doctor added that there were signs that the woman put up a tough fight and resisted the attack. “The attack occurred in a duration within 40 minutes—between 11.21am when the train left Borivli and noon, when it reached Dadar. There was no RPF escort in the compartment. The woman was not carrying a phone,” said a police officer.

Her grief-stricken family is desperate to find out who killed her and why. Her husband, who works in a textiles showroom, had dropped her at Surat station on Friday morning. CCTV cameras there have captured them smiling and chatting as they walked. The woman was in a red saree. “At 3pm, we got a phone call about her murder. Her husband had never wanted her to travel to Mumbai as their daughter’s exam was on. But she was keen to visit her mother’s relative, who recently had a surgery. She was a simple and sweet-natured person who got along with everyone and had no enemies,” the husband’s uncle told TOI. He said the woman had made several solo trips to Mumbai in the past by train, the last before Raksha Bandhan. “We are aware of a piece of a man’s clothing being recovered from the coach and we hope its examination yields strong clues,” he said.

The GRP has sent the saree and the piece of clothing for forensic examination, and formed four teams to solve the case. One of the teams has gone to Surat to make inquiries.

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Sohrabuddin-Prajapati encounter cases Was tortured, threatened: witness

Ahead of the December 21 judgement, Azam Khan’s wife Rizwana has moved the Bombay High Court narrating accounts of intimidation, murder threats and prosecutorial laxity.
Azam Khan Sohrabuddin Case

On December 6, the special CBI court hearing the Sohrabuddin Sheikh ‘staged’ encounter case reserved its judgement, which according to news reports, is likely to be delivered on  December 21, because the judge SJ Sharma is to retire at the end of the month. However, now, Azam Khan, a prime witness in the case in which Narendra Modi is a key suspect, and BJP president Amit Shah was a key accused (he was sent to jail, and even externed from Gujarat before the Supreme Court in a controversial decision discharged him from the case), has moved the Bombay High Court , contending that he was subjected to sustained brutal torture and intimidation prior to his deposition, and the court of judge SJ Sharma did not afford him the opportunity to testify in a proper and fearless manner, with the Special Public Prosecutor failing to bring major and critical chunks of his testimony on record.

Accusing some Gujarat and Rajasthan top police officers, who allegedly played a crucial role in the alleged encounter of Sohrabuddin Shaikh, his wife Kausar Bi and acolyte Tulsiram Prajapati, of threatening him repeatedly to not take their names , Khan has been forced to file the writ petition through his wife Rizwana, since prison officials were not allowing him to sign the petition from jail.

Rizwana has approached the Bombay High Court, since testimony of her husband was incomplete, alleging that he was brought to the Court after facing almost 20 days of unrelenting torture at the hands of Udaipur Police personnel. Even on the morning of the deposition, he was threatened by one of the accused, Inspector Abdul Rehman in the presence of Udaipur police personnel who had brought him under custody to Mumbai, she said. During his deposition and despite his having requested for the same, Khan was not shown his statements under Section 164 CrPC and the same have not even been exhibited.

Only a few days ago, Khan, one of the key witnesses in the controversial Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case, gave a new twist to the court proceedings. In his recent deposition at before the CBI court, the Udaipur-based gangster said that Gujarat top cop D.G. Vanzara had ordered the killing of former BJP minister Haren Pandya.

Since Vanzara was considered close to now BJP president Amit Shah and the then chief minister of the state Narendra Modi, his statement threw the mysterious Pandya murder case back into spotlight.

Khan has already testified that the Sohrabuddin encounter was fake and that Prajapati who was a witness to that encounter was subsequently killed in a fake encounter himself. While he was able to name one retired IPS officer, he was scared to name other IPS officers and politicians after he was threatened by the accused Abdul Rehman on the morning of the deposition. He had been taken in custody from Udaipur to Mumbai where he was kept at a hotel having the word ‘Silver’ in its name at Syed Kazi Street in Mumbai. There the accused Abdul Rehman came in a black SUV and the accompanying police personnel from Udaipur Police made him sit in that car with him for about half an hour. Rehman threatened him that if he did not depose as per the wishes of the accused, he would be implicated in more false cases and that he would suffer other consequences. This was subsequent to the torture that he faced while he was in custody.

During the trial, the policemen, who the prosecution claimed were involved in Shaikh’s alleged fake encounter, denied that they were present at the spot. This includes Rajasthan police inspector Abdul Rehman, who denied that he had given a written complaint that he had shot at Shaikh in self-defence. Rehman, also claimed before the court that he was pressured into calling the encounter genuine. The other policemen who were involved in the Prajapati encounter, said they had shot at him in “self-defence”.


Intimidation, Torture Death and Rape Threats

According to Rizwana’s petition, the phase of intimidation began on June 7, 2018 when Azam Khan, his two brothers and his uncle were picked up by the Udaipur police.  Within days, Khan’s uncle and two brothers were illegally detained by the Udaipur police and tortured for a week before being abandoned on the road, she said. During this period, they were tortured and made to sign on fabricated and concocted statements, under the threat that Khan should depose in the Mumbai case according to what the police officials wished him to do.

On September 26, 2018, just before she was to testify in the Sohrabuddin case before the Mumbai CBI court, Rizwana was threatened by an unknown person inside the court room at around 11 a.m, who said to her, “Tell Azam to give his statement as we have told him to.”

On the evening of October 1, 2018, when Rizwana was leaving her home to attend to some errands, she was stopped by three unknown persons on sblack Pulsar bike without number plates, and forcibly taken to meet two people, in addition to the driver, sitting in a white luxury car parked on the roadside. The three persons introduced her as Azam’s wife to the person in white clothes in the back seat of the car. This person proceeded to threaten her, saying that if her husband did not give his witness statement according to their wishes, what had happened to Kausarbi (wife of Sohrabuddin. who was allegedly gang-raped and  murdered) would happen to her, and Khan would meet a fate worse than that of Sohrabuddin and Tulsiram.

On October 12, 2018, her husband was arrested in Delhi by a Special Team of Udaipur Police, which was accompanied by one Harinder Singh Soda, in-charge of Bhupalpura Police Station and brought to Udaipur, but she was not informed of the same, she said.

On the morning of October 13, 2018, Rizwana went from pillar to post in search of her husband, including several police Stations of Udaipur. When she finally reached Bhupalpura Police Station, asking after her husband and begging to speak to him once, the police personnel present did not let her speak to him. Rather, Soda, station-in-charge,  beat her up, grabbed her by the hair and dragged her to a lock-up, which was right next to where her husband was, she added. Her phone was also snatched from her and she was detained there for four-five hours, from about 11 am to 4 pm. If her phone’s GPS location for the said date and time is checked, her said location will be confirmed, she states in the petition.

From October 13 to 18, Khan remained in police custody at Bhupalpura  and was repeatedly assaulted during this period. On or around October17,  2018,  Soda forced him to sit in front of the Hanuman temple inside the station compound and ordered each one of the fifty-plus police personnel to kick and punch him. They proceeded to mercilessly assault him physically, kicking and punching. She said her husband relayed these incidents of torture to her when she met him on October 18, 2018, after verbally obtaining permission from the  magistrate’s Court where he was being produced, which was pleased to orally grant her permission to meet him for 10 minutes inside the courtroom. Khan also showed Rizwana the injuries on his body, including on his hands, legs, his chest, and the soles of his feet, and he even had blood stains on his shirt, she stated.

Custodial torture continued unabated till November 2, while Khan was being shuttled between different police stations in Rajasthan, and was finally brought to Mumbai by train,  Rizwana’s petition state. After testifying, he was sent back to Rajasthan, where the custodial torture continued in various jails and police stations. Even when he was in judicial custody on the orders of the Rajasthan High Court (which Rizwana had moved by way of Criminal Writ Petition No. 416/2018 fearing for his safety and life) , he was not spared.  The assaulters of Bhupalpura police station, led by Soda, kept appearing on the scene and adding to his travails.

Incomplete Testimony, Prosecutorial Laxity

In her petition. Rizwana has alleged that Special Prosecutor BP Raju ignored crucial parts of her husband’s testimony, especially those implicating Gujarat IPS officer Abhay Chudasama and Amit Shah.

According to her petition, there are a number of witnesses who can corroborate various aspects of Khan’s testimony or are otherwise material to the case.

A bare perusal of the chargesheet shows that 500 witnesses were listed, though the CBI prosecutor bothered to examine only 210, out of whom 92 have turned hostile. Many of these witnesses who have turned hostile have been repeatedly threatened, a factor the prosecution did not bother to examine or bring to the notice of the court. Rizwana prays that a special prosecutor be appointed by the Bombay High Court to review the evidence and to study the testimony of these hostile witnesses.

Judge Sharma is apparently in a hurry to pronounce judgement in the case because of his impending retirement, but Azam Khan’s lawyers fervently hope that the Bombay High Court, with the limited time it has on its hands, would act with alacrity to prevent justice from being run off the rails.

Khan has alleged that Sheikh killed Minister Haren Pandya on the orders of then top cop DG Vanzara

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India – 21 Opposition parties unite, aim to oust NDA government in 2019 elections

(from the left) Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, Congress President Rahul Gandhi, Loktantrik Janata Dal (LJD) leader Sharad Yadav, Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad and other party leaders during a press conference   –  PTI

Mamata, Naidu architects of meet; Mayawati, Akhilesh stay away


A day ahead of the announcement of election results to five State assemblies, over a dozen Opposition parties met here on Monday to chart the future course. They resolved to defeat the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

While 21 Opposition parties attended the meeting, the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) — allies in Uttar Pradesh — decided to stay away without citing any reason.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who usually keeps off such meetings, attended, giving a boost to the efforts of other Opposition parties. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu were the key architects of Monday’s meeting.

Addressing reporters after the meeting, Congress President Rahul Gandhi said the combined goal is to defeat the BJP and protect India’s institutions. Opposition unity is a process, he added, hinting that more parties would join the bandwagon in the near future. Naidu said democratic compulsions have brought the parties together.

A senior leader who attended the meeting said there was a clamour among a section of political parties that Rahul be projected as the leader of the Opposition camp.

Steadfast resolve

A statement issued by the Opposition parties reaffirmed their “strong and steadfast resolve to confront and defeat the forces that are subverting our Constitution and making a mockery of our democracy.”

“India needs a government that cares for the working class, kisans and khet mazdoors and is always sensitive to the enormous pain that they and their families are going through. India needs a government that makes education accessible and affordable to all sections of the people and fulfils the aspirations of youth for decent and secure jobs that provide fair wages to the employed,” the resolution said.

“India needs a government that empowers the weaker sections of society — scheduled castes, scheduled tribes, OBCs, women and minorities — to lead a life of complete security and dignity,” it added.

The statement further said India needs a truthful government that does not propagate falsehoods and does not make bogus claims and that will banish the current all-pervasive atmosphere of fear and intimidation.

The parties said India needs a government that is committed to faster economic growth that is socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable and growth that does not sharpen inequalities among people and among states. “India needs a government that is not mired in rank corruption and loot of people’s resources, a government which does not attack the entire banking system through insurmountable NPAs benefiting crony capitalists. India needs a government that does not put a conspiratorial lid over multiple corruption scams like Rafale, nor becomes an abettor to the escape of bank defaulters,” the statement said.

Batting for enterprise

“We need a government where harassment of businessmen and industrialists would end and the spirit of enterprise must be allowed full freedom,” it said.

The statement urged all liberal, progressive and secular forces to join the Opposition in the battle to save the Constitution. “It is in the interests of safeguarding and strengthening our Constitutional Republic and people’s livelihood that this RSS/BJP government is ousted,” it said.

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