State to pay Rs 3 lakh compensation to Sayyad Khwaja's mother

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Mumbai, Jan 16 (UNI) While admitting for the first time that December 2002 Ghatkopar bomb blast case accused Sayyad Khwaja Yunus was dead, the State Government today informed the Bombay High Court that it has decided to pay Rs 3 lakh as compensation to his mother Asiya Begum towards his custodial death.

Public Prosecutor Satish Borulkar informed a division bench comprising Justices R M S Khandeparkar and Amjad Sayyad that Sayyad Khwaja's mother would get the cheque within two weeks.

Thereafter, when the judges asked about the missing person, the public prosecutor said though his corpse had not been recovered, investigations conducted by state CID indicated that Sayyad Khwaja had died on January 7, 2003.

The judges then asked Asiya Begum's counsel Mihir Desai whether the amount of compensation was acceptable, to which Adv Desai replied in the affirmative. However, he said he has to consult Asiya Begum before conveying any decision to the court.

At the same time, Adv Desai raised the point of excluding some police officials from sanction for prosecution for allegedly killing Sayyad Khwaja while in police custody.

He contended that the state government had come to a conclusion without giving any reasons for granting sanction for prosecution against only four policemen, who had reportedly taken Sayyad Khwaja to Parner in Ahmednagar district. State CID Additional SP Kiran Gosavi's affidavit of October 16, 2006 clearly mentioned the involvement of some other police officers, naming them as to who had tortured him in custody which ultimately led to his death, but sanction to prosecute them was not given, he added.

Adv Borulkar replied saying that after going through all material made available by the State CID only, the state government granted sanction with respect to four policemen and not with respect to others, adding that this was the stand of state government as of today.

The judges asked him to file an affidavit by February 7, justifying the state government's decision to grant sanction for prosecuting four policemen only and not the others.

It may be recalled that the police always claimed that Sayyad Khwaja had escaped, taking advantage of an accident met by the police van in which he was being carried. The accident occurred on January 7, 2003.

Asiya Begum had moved the High Court seeking compensation of Rs five lakh for her son's alleged custodial death.

UNI XR MAZ PB RK1948

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