Hari Masjid case:State refuses to initiate proceedings against cops

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Mumbai, Sep 18 (UNI) The Maharashtra government today refused to initiate prosecution proceedings against policemen involved in the Hari Masjid police firing in which seven people were killed and as many injured, thus violating the findings and recommendations of the Justice Shrikrishna Commission that inquired into the 1992-93 communal riots in Mumbai.

In response to a petition filed by one Farook Mohammed Kasim Mapkar, who himself was injured in the police firing, the state government today filed an affidavit in the Mumbai High Court stating that no criminal case could be registered against the police team, led by then police sub-inspector Nikhil Kapse, which had allegedly opened fire on 'Namazis' assembled in the Hari Masjid on January 10, 1993.

The affidavit was filed by DCP Dattatray Shinde, who is heading the Special Task Force constituted in August 2000 for further investigation and action, if necessary, to be taken in possible offences concluded by the Commission.

As mentioned in the affidavit, after scrutinising all available material, the STF concluded that Nikhil Kapse and accompanying staff carried out the firing at Hari Masjid while performing their duty. The affidavit further disclosed that, Kapse was also exonerated in the departmental inquiry that was initiated against him, after the incident.

In another affidavit filed today, senior inspector Namdeo Wayal of the R A K Marg police station alleged that the petitioner Mapkar did not co-operate in the investigation initiated by the police station after his complaint was received. It was also alleged in the affidavit that Mapkar had moved the High Court nine years after the report of the Commission was filed, and particularly when a related case pending against him was about to begin in a Sewri sessions court.

A division bench comprising Justices R M S Khandeparkar and V K Tahailramani adjourned further hearing on the matter till September 27, to allow the petitioner's counsel Vijay Pradhan to go through the affidavits and reply to them.

Advocate Pradhan urged the court to consider handing over the matter for investigation to the CBI, considering the stand taken by the state.

Referring to the Hari Masjid police firing, the Shrikrishna Commission had observed in its report that the police version of the story was ''totally unbelievable and fabricated'' and that PSI Kapse, presently with the economic offences wing of the Mumbai police, had not only supressed facts but also fabricated record regarding the incident.

UNI

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