Police action was seen the next day after other inmates went berserk and rioted inside the prison, setting furniture on fire.
Mumbai: The Mumbai crime branch has received sanction from the state government to prosecute the six female police officials attached with the Byculla women’s prison in the alleged murder of 45-year-old inmate, Manjula Shetye, on June 23 last year. The six accused were arrested for their role in allegedly assaulting Shetye, who later succumbed to her injuries. “The sanction came a few days ago. This is a positive development for the case in the backdrop of chargesheet being filed before the court,” said a crime branch officer.
The crime branch had filed a 990-paged chargesheet in October last year, naming, Manisha Pokharkar, Bindu Naikavde, Waseema Shaikh, Sheetal Shegaokar, Surekha Gulve and Aarti Shigane for brutally assaulting Shetye. The assault led to Shetye’s death inside the prison premises. She was formally declared dead after being rushed to JJ Hospital hours later, though the hospital is a stone’s’ throw away from the jail premises.
The crime branch’s investigation in the case led to startling revelations of how the brutal assault went unnoticed during an inspection visit by a lady judicial magistrate.
Shetye’s life could have been saved had the inmates’ raised an alarm and brought it to the notice of J. V. Pekhalepukhar, magistrate of the 39th court at Vile Parle on the day of her death.
The statement of 191 inmates recorded by crime branch revealed how the accused had unleashed a rein of terror on inmates insides the jail. Minutes before Pekhalepukhar’s visit, Shetye was assaulted after being dragged inside her barrack around 11.30 am. The reason was a squabble over food stocks. She had been lying unconscious on the floor even as Pekhalepukar was present in the jail for inspection.
The inmates stated that they were unaware of the brutality that had unfolded inside Shetye’s barracks that morning as they had only heard loud cries for help. Shetye regained consciousness around 5.30 pm and sought the inmates’ help to be taken to washroom as she could hardly move. It was there that she collapsed and died. She was checked by prison doctor S.A. Khan around 6.30 pm and declared dead at 7 pm when rushed to JJ Hospital on Khan’s advice.
Police action was seen the next day after other inmates went berserk and rioted inside the prison, setting furniture on fire. Later, a murder case was registered against the six jail staffers and they were arrested.