Sachin Vaze’s arrest has solaced Asiya Begum mother of the Ghatkopar blast accused Khwaja Yunus. She expressed her sympathy and pain for Mansukh Hiren’s wife and expecting justice to be delivered. In tears, she said API Sachin Vaze’s reinstatement to the Mumbai Police force was a wrong decision by the present government. On June 5, 2020, the police department and the chief secretary had revoked the suspension of API Sachin Vaze and three others accused in the 2009 case of Yunus’s alleged murder in police custody in January 2003.
Thank God at least Hiren’s body found and the foul play got exposed but Yunus’ body is not found till date, said his mother. Asiya Begum has alleged that neither the state nor the police have initiated any disciplinary inquiry against Vaze despite the HC orders which the state had never challenged.
Yunus working as a software engineer in Dubai had returned to India on 28.11.2002 to visit his family. He arrived at his native place in Parbhani on 30.11.2002. On 2nd December 2002 a bomb blast took place in Ghatkopar, investigation was carried out by Powai DCB CID Unit 8.
Yunus was taken in custody on 25.12.2002 in connection with the bomb blast case at Karanje, Maharashtra. From there he was taken to Mumbai. He was handed over to the Powai DCB CID unit the next day. And two other accused Mohammed Abdul Mateen and Shaikh Zaheer were taken in custody on 23.12.2002 in connection with the blast case and allegedly handed over to Powai Unit for investigation on 25.12.2002. Another person named Muzammil was arrested too. He was later discharged.
Yunus and the other persons arrested for the bomb blast case were assaulted and tortured and when Asiya Begum saw him on 27 December 2003, he had appeared weak. Yunus died on January 6, 2003 while in custody. Police said he died when trying to escape while they were shifting him to Aurangabad.
She said according to the state Vaze was directed to take Yunus to Aurangabad for allegedly further investigation. She alleged that Yunus either died earlier in police custody but “to conceal the custodial torture and… custodial death” Vaze and three constables “staged” his escape from custody and later registered a “false case with the Parner police” on January 7, 2003, of his alleged escape by “jumping” out of the police jeep just before it met with an accident and fell into a gorge.
The HC had accepted too that the ‘escape’ FIR was false and had April 7, 2004, directed that statement of Yunus’ co-accused Abdul Mateen who alleged his torture in custody be treated as an FIR for a case of murder against Waze and others. The state had gone to the Supreme Court to challenge the HC order to register a murder case against the police. Vaze is accused of covering up the custodial death. He has also been accused of creating a scene that Yunus escaped from the custody near Parner in Ahmednagar district while he was taking him to Parbhani for investigation.
But in August 2004 the SC declined to intervene. Yunus’ mother said the reinstatement be set aside as his trial is still pending and it impinged on her right to a fair and speedy trial into the case of her son’s murder. Asiya Begum, 72, had earlier filed a contempt petition against Mumbai Police chief Parambir Singh and Amitabh Gupta.
From 2004 to 2020, Vaze was suspended and “during the pendency of the criminal case, it was decided not to initiate a departmental inquiry. But at the quarterly meeting to review suspended policemen, held during the COVID-19 pandemic on June 5, the panel headed by the police commissioner considered cases of various officers including API Vaze and three other constables, accused. The CP considered the “large scale infection” of Covid among policemen as a vital issue
The encounter specialist says that Yunus’s body was burnt at a farm in Asangaon in Raigad district and a cemented platform was constructed at the place so that no one could find the bones and the ashes. Vaze has refuted the allegations. He is confident that his “innocence” in this case will be proved in the Bombay High Court. Investigations by the state CID in 2003 found that Vaze’s escape theory was false and that Yunus actually died in police custody.
Vaze was suspended for being responsible for Yunus’ death. Yunus’ elder brother Sayyed Khwaja Hussain, 42, says his brother’s death has destroyed the family. His father Sayyed Khwaja Ayub, a retired official with the state government’s health department, died in 2004 because of the shock of Yunus’ death.
His mother Aasiya Begum, has filed a habeas corpus petition in the Bombay High Court. The final hearing on this petition was completed three months ago. Hussain is waiting for the HC’s verdict. He is depressed because of the delay in “justice” but has full faith in the judiciary and the almighty.