Khwaja Yunus case: govt. justifies prosecutor’s ouster

The State government on Friday justified its decision to remove special public prosecutor Deepak Mirajkar from the Khwaja Yunus custodial death case for seeking to arraign four accused policemen, and told the Bombay High Court that it was not trying to protect the officials.

“Mr. Mirajkar’s move to file the application was contradictory to the State government’s view. The government had already refused sanction to prosecute these four policemen,” Advocate General Ashutosh Kumbhakoni told a Division Bench of Justices R.M. Savant and Revati Mohite-Dere.

The government’s refusal of sanction was challenged by Yunus’s mother, Asiya Begum, but the high court had dismissed the petition. Asiya Begum then appealed in the Supreme Court and the matter is still pending, Mr. Kumbhakoni said. Hence, Mr. Mirajkar should not have filed an application seeking summons against retired police officer Praful Bhosale and three other policemen to make them face trial on murder charges, the Advocate General said.

The government, through a notification in April, cancelled Mr. Mirajkar’s appointment after he filed the application before a sessions court, which is conducting the trial in the case. This was after key prosecution witness Mohammed Abdul Mateen claimed that he had seen Mr. Bhosale, the then assistant police inspector Hemant Desai, and two other policemen assault Yunus in police lock-up. Yunus had been arrested in connection with the 2002 Ghatkopar blast.

Justice Savant said, “In the light of the high court order, was the prosecutor justified in filing such a plea?” The court posted the petition for hearing on August 9 and said, “Try to resolve the issue. Maybe the government could now make its view clear to the prosecutor and see if he is willing to withdraw his application.”

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