Magistrate rejects police report on Khalid Mujahid’s mysterious death; Signals impediment by state

By A. Mirsab,,

Lucknow: In a setback to Uttar Pradesh police and state government, the Barabanki chief judicial magistrate on Wednesday, rejected final report filed by the police in Khalid Mujahid death case on 12 June 2014. The magistrate rejected police report while hearing a petition filed by Mujahid’s uncle Zaheer Alam Falahi on 20th October that had alleged half-heartedness of police in preparing the report.

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In his petition, Falahi had mentioned that the report was prepared by police without even talking with any of the accused persons and was clear indication of covering up police personals involved in the alleged murder of Mujahid, including top brass named in the FIR. He had also alleged that complainant’s statement under sec. 161 CrPC was not recorded by the investigation officer.

Khalid Mujahid
Khalid Mujahid (file photo)

Chief judicial magistrate Brijendra Tripathi agreed with the argument of petitioner and said that it is clear that proper investigation of the case was not done, statements were not recorded for which complainant has attached affidavit. The magistrate noted that report is seemingly prepared in a hurry and hence it is justified to reinvestigate the case with inclusion of accused and complainant’s statements.

Magistrate directed Police chief of Kotwali, Barabanki to do proper investigation and to submit final report in 2 months.

Meanwhile, the decision by Barabanki chief judicial magistrate of rejecting police report has been welcomed by the Rihai Manch (Forum for the Release of Innocent Muslims imprisoned in the name of Terrorism). Its chairperson Advocate Muhammad Shaoib said, “Rejection of police final report is a smack on the face of the state government. Falahi had appealed for CBI probe in the alleged killing and illegal detention of Mujahid but the police had investigated the case without even speaking with accused and filed report to the court”.

Masihuddin Sanjari, Prabhari of Rihai Manch for Uttar Pradesh said that it’s been clear that investigating officials are trying to save their top brass officers of the lever of DGP-ADG and in it the state government is providing help. He also said that the case is not limited with only the mysterious death of Mujahid but also his with illegal detention at the time of his arresting in 2007.

Rihai Manch has appealed to the Samajwadi government to hand over investigation of Mujahid’s death to CBI and to immediately act against police officials named by R D Nimesh in his submitted impartial report before the government.

Allegations and mysterious death of Mujahid

Khalid Mujahid along with Tariq Qasmi was arrested by Special Task Force (STF) on 20 December 2007 from Barabanki. Huge explosives were also shown as recovered from his possession. STF claimed that he was involved in the serial blasts on 23 November 2007 at District Court in Gorakhpur, Faizabad and Lucknow.

On 18 May 2013, Mujahid was being taken back to Lucknow jail after the hearing when he fell sick and fainted near Barabanki border. His condition deteriorated near Ram Sanehi Ghat in Barabanki. He was rushed to a district hospital, where doctors declared him dead in the evening. While the State claimed that Khalid died due to medical reasons the victim’s family maintained that he was killed.

Contrary to the State’s claims that Khalid’s co-accused Tariq Qasmi had submitted that Khalid was feeling unwell, in a letter to his counsel Mohammed Shoaib, Tariq claimed that Khalid was “not unwell and was laughing during the journey,” The Hindu reported.

Even a five-member-panel of doctors had stated that the cause of Khalid’s death could not be ascertained. The Hindu also reported that as per the information obtained under the RTI, the district jail Lucknow admitted that during his stay in jail, Khalid “never faced any such problems for which he would have had to be admitted to the district hospital or the prison hospital.” The deceased also “never mentioned any illness that would have required ECG or ultrasonography,” the RTI revealed.

Randhir Singh Suman, a lawyer of another accused had alleged that the State followed the wrong procedure in conducting the viscera testing on Khalid’s body.

“Khalid’s uncle had prayed before the CJM Barabanki to conduct viscera testing and according to procedure, his statement should have been recorded before any such testing. The testing was conducted without this procedure.”

What is in FIR?

Following Mujahid’s mysterious death his uncle Zaheer Alam lodged an FIR under sections 120 B (criminal conspiracy) and 302 (murder) of the IPC against 42 persons including a retired top UP police officer and a senior serving cop for alleged conspiracy in connection with the death of Mujahid.

He alleged in his complaint that his nephew was abducted by the Special Task Force from Madiyahon in Jaunpur district on December 16, 2007 and later arrested on false charge that he had been found with explosives near Barabanki railway station.

He also alleged that the abduction and framing of Mujahid in the serial blasts at Lucknow and Faizabad court premises was the result of a conspiracy hatched by several police officials including a former top retired police officer and a senior serving cop.

He further stated that after Mujahid was found to be falsely implicated by R D Nimesh Commission, the government had moved an application for withdrawal of cases against Mujahidin in a Barabanki court which was rejected on 10 May 2013.

Alam said that the government had decided to challenge the order in a higher court, in which case Mujahid would have been a key witness against the accused policemen in the case.

He alleged that “as a part of the pre-planned conspiracy Mujahid was killed while returning from the hearing in a Faizabad court.”

Justice R D Nimesh report

Former chief minister Mayawati had constituted the Justice RD Nimesh Committee in 2008 to enquire into the arrests of Khalid Mujahid and Tariq Qasmi, who were allegedly involved in 2007 serial blasts in UP. The committee had finalized and given its report to the Samajwadi Party government in August 2012.

The magisterial inquiry concluded that Mujahid was held in police custody illegally for four days before being shown as arrested. Then DGP Vikram Singh, additional DG Brij Lal and a host of other senior officials had held a press conference at the time of his arrest to claim credit and hence they have been made party to his illegal detention along with the STF team that arrested him. Justice R D Nimesh Commission of inquiry had recommended action against all these officers.

Instead of commission holding police officials as guilty the SP government has not taken action against any of the police official.

Failed attempt of SP to withdraw case

Samajwadi Party government headed by CM Akhilesh Yadav as per their poll promise had moved a plea to revoke the terror charges but they were turned down by local court in Barabanki.

The appeal before High Court was also turned down; instead the court questioned government’s intention behind moving such a technically faulty plea.

The UP government had requested the court that it wanted to withdraw the case in “public interest and for the sake of communal harmony”, but had not elaborated further.

In the run-up to the 2012 assembly elections, SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and Akhilesh had both promised Mujahid’s family members to look into allegations of his “illegal arrest”. After coming to power the SP government not only failed to withdraw the case but they do not even act on R D Nimesh commission’s recommendations.