Parbhani (Maharashtra): Eighteen years after the alleged custodial death of Khwaja Yunus in the 2002 Ghatkopar blast case, his mother Asiya Begum who continues to fight for justice alleges that the Maharashtra government did not help her in getting her son’s murderers punished and lashed out at it for reinstating into the police force, Sachin Waze who was suspended for his involvement in Yunus death case.
Speaking to ANI, Asiya Begum said, “I want to question the government on why was Sachin Waze reinstated into the police force even when our case is still in court? The government promoted him even though he is the murderer of Khwaja Yunus. We wrote to the government opposing his reinstatement but no action was taken. Sachin Waze was involved in many encounters. He also encountered Khwaja Yunus.”
Waze, was suspended in March 2004 after allegations of custodial death of Yunus. He resigned from the police force in November 2007 and in June 2020 was reinstated in the Mumbai police’s Crime Intelligence Unit (CIU).
“The government did nothing. We have been doing the rounds of the court for 17 years now but never got justice. We continue to fight for justice,” said Asiya Begum.
She further said, “All those who were taken into custody by the CID including Sachin Waze were freed. The government shouldn’t have done that. This will encourage them and send out a message that even if they kill anybody in fake encounters and get suspended they will be inducted into the police force by the government again.
“On one hand there are people like them, and on the other poor people like us who have been putting in all our resources on the lawyers, doing rounds of the court since 18 years to fight this case in a city like Mumbai. I feel like crying, even the government did not help us get justice and instead reinstated such cops on promotion,” stated his mother.
Speaking about the Khawaja Yunus case she said, “Khwaja Yunus had come home from Dubai to celebrate Eid. After a few days, a bomb blast took place at the Ghatkopar railway station. The police arrested many children who were doctors and engineers and Khawaja Yunus was one of them. They conspired to frame him in the case and took him to Mumbai. A few days later they started beating him. He was not a criminal, he was an engineer and a well-educated child. Yet they beat him up so much that he died in police custody.”
Asiya Begum claimed that after Yunus’ death, the police declared that he had escaped. “Sachin Waze with the help of other police officers then burnt his body and never returned his body to us. What kind of justice is this? The government did nothing to get us justice,” she said.
She further asserted, “Today they killed my Khawaj Yunus, tomorrow they will kill someone else in a fake encounter and burn their body too. This government gives Rs 1 lakh for carrying out such encounters. If we do not get justice in the Bombay High Court, we will move the Supreme Court.”
“People say that I have turned 70 and I should now leave the case. Why should I leave the case? They killed Khwaja Yunus, burnt him inflicted so much pain on him in the jail and even tried to erase this case. Whenever our lawyer goes to court, those policemen never present themselves there. I will continue to fight for justice till the murderers of my son are nabbed and punished,” she added.
Yunus, a software engineer working in Dubai, was picked up from Marathwada’s Parbhani in December 2002 in connection with the blasts that took place in suburban Ghatkopar at that time.
While police had claimed that Yunus escaped in January 2003 after the vehicle in which he was being taken to Aurangabad met with an accident in Jategaon, a co-accused in the blast case Dr Abdul Mateen alleged that Yunus died in police custody.
While police filed a case in Parner police station over the “escape” of Yunus, the high court ordered the state CID to close the FIR as an inquiry had found it to be fake. The CID then filed a fresh FIR on the basis of the statement given by Mateen, who said that Yunus was tortured to death.
A Criminal Investigation Department inquiry indicted 14 policemen, but the government sanctioned the prosecution of only four for murder who were Sachin Waze, Rajendra Tiwari, Rajaram Nikam and Sunil Desai — for murder.
In February, the CID had approached the court seeking to put on trial former police officer Praful Bhosale and three others in the Khwaja Yunus custodial death case.
The CID filed the application a month after key prosecution witness, Dr Abdul Mateen, deposed before the trial court here that he had seen Bhosale, then assistant police inspector Hemant Desai, and two other policemen (identified only as “Vhanmane and Khot” in the plea) assaulting Yunus in the police lock-up.
Sachin Waze, was suspended in March 2004 after allegations of custodial death of Yunus. He was suspended along with 14 other cops at that time. Later, when his application for being reinstated was rejected, he resigned from the police force in November 2007 and joined the Shiv Sena in 2008.
In June 2020, he was reinstated in the Mumbai police’s Crime Intelligence Unit (CIU).
The reinstatement of Waze was challenged by Asiya Begum. She said that the reinstatement was contempt of the High Court’s 2004 order which had directed a disciplinary inquiry against him and three others.
In a hearing in the petition this January, the Bombay High Court sought to know from Asiya Begum, how she was personally affected by the reinstatement. The petition has now been kept for hearing on March 31.