Custodial death: HC asks CBI for further probe on murder charge

The bench, after perusing the witness statements, postmortem report and doctor’s report, observed that Agnelo had not suffered an accidental death.

By   |   Published: 19th Dec 2016   6:39 pm Updated: 19th Dec 2016   6:49 pm
death
Bombay High Court

Mumbai: Observing that prima facie evidence points to offence of murder and unnatural sex against 10 police officials booked in the 2014 custodial death case of a 25-year-old man, the Bombay High Court on Monday directed CBI to carry out further probe and file supplementary chargesheet.

A division bench of Justices R V More and A M Badar was hearing a petition filed in 2014 by Leonard, the father of victim Agnelo Valdaris. Following the petition, the case was handed over to CBI for probe.

The CBI, in its FIR, booked 10 police officials from Wadala railway police on charges of murder, unnatural sex, kidnapping and falsifying evidence and so on.

However, in its chargesheet filed in January this year, CBI charged the accused only for criminal conspiracy, voluntarily causing hurt and other lesser charges. The charges under which the policemen have been booked will attract maximum punishment of three years, in comparision to life sentence had they been charged with murder.

Petitioner’s counsel Yug Chaudhary argued that CBI has failed to consider material evidence which clearly points out to offence under IPC section 377 (unnatural sex).

The bench, after perusing the witness statements, postmortem report and doctor’s report, observed that Agnelo had not suffered an accidental death.

“There is prima facie material against the police officials which discloses commission of offence under IPC sections 302 (murder), 304 (II) (culpable homicide) and 377.

We also find that CBI in its chargesheet has not invoked the proper charges. We therefore direct CBI to carry out further probe in the case and file supplementary chargesheet,”it said.

The bench directed the agency to complete the probe and file the chargesheet within eight weeks.

“After going through postmortem report, the position of the body in the spot panchnama and other witness statements we are unable to accept the CBI’s contention that the deceased committed suicide or suffered accidental death,” the HC said.

The bench further observed that it was surprised that CBI, considered a premier investigating agency, was conducting probes in such manner without “applying its mind”.

Agnelo and three others were picked up by Wadala railway police on charges of robbery on April 15, 2014.

For next three days they were allegedly stripped, tortured and even forced to have oral sex with each other. On April 18, Valdaris died in custody while the others were released on bail on April 22.

After his death, Wadala police claimed that Agnelo died while trying to escape from custody and was run over by a train.