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HC orders CBI probe into custodial death of accused

Expressing dissatisfaction over the slow pace of investigation by police, the Bombay High Court has ordered a CBI probe into alleged custodial death of a 35-year-old person who was arrested in a case of counterfeit currency.

Zulfar Shaikh died on December 2, 2012 when he was in the custody of Dharavi police station for his alleged complicity in the fake currency case.

The police had initially said he died following a heart attack but later said he succumbed to jaundice. However, when Zulfar’s lawyer met co-accused Inamul Shaikh in Dharavi police station lock-up, he alleged Zulfar was beaten up brutally by some police officials in his presence, said a petition.

The high court had in August 2013 handed over the probe to a Deputy Commissioner of Police in Mumbai Crime Branch. However, the public prosecutor sought more time yesterday to submit the progress report, which the court refused to give.

Transferring the probe to CBI, a bench of Justices V M Kanade and P D Kode said enough time had been given to Mumbai Police and they were asking for more time to conduct the investigations.

The court was hearing the petition filed by Zulfar’s cousin Nurul Itwari Shaikh.

This is the second case in the past one month in which probe has been transferred from Mumbai Police to CBI.

The first case was regarding alleged custodial death of Agnelo Valdaris in April when he was in the custody of Wadala Railway police. The police said he was run over by a train while crossing the railway tracks when he was being taken to a hospital for health check-up.

In the case of alleged custodial death of Zulfar Shaikh, his lawyer Yug Choudhari argued murder charges should be added against the concerned police officers of Dharavi police station.

The prosecution, however, argued the accused died of meningitis and denied the allegation of death in custody due to assault by police.

Zulfar, a delivery boy with a cosmetics company, is survived by his wife and five minor children.

The court has asked CBI to submit a progress report on the investigation by August 25.

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