Reinstated assistant police inspector Sachin Waze (File photo)

MUMBAI: In an important development, the Mumbai Police on Friday reinstated assistant police inspector Sachin Waze and his three subordinate constables after 16 years of their suspension for the alleged custodial killing of 2002 bomb blast suspect Khawaja Yunus.
Waze and his three constables Rajendra Tiwari, Rajaram Nikam and Sunil Desai who were suspended in 2004 following the alleged disappearance theory of Khawaja Yunus which later turned out to be the case of custodial death, joined the Local Arms division at Naigaon on Saturday afternoon.
Waze and three constable’s reinstatement in the force even when the trial of murder charges is still pending before the session court, assumes significance under the Sena led government as Waze after his suspension had joined Shiv Sena .
“I am happy to join back and feeling proud to be part of the Mumbai Police,” Waze told TOI after joining the force.
“The review committee had recently reviewed the suspension of several cops and had opined that as the trial is pending they should be reinstated. Final decision was taken by commissioner of police Parambir Singh,” said an official.
Singh remained unavailable for comment.
Yunus’s mother Asiya Begum expressed disappointment with the development and said that it was a huge setback to a case that has been delayed for almost two decades. “Waze is the main accused in the case. This is unfair and will ensure that the case delayed further. I fear that evidence in the case will also be tampered with. I have waited so many years for justice. I am in my 70s now but I will fight until the end. All the other accused in the blast case have been acquitted. My son too would have cleared his name had he been alive,” she said.
The case pertains to the custodial death of suspected 2002 Bomb blast accused Khawaja Yunus in the police custody of the crime branch. Yunus, a 27-year-old Parbhani resident and software engineer, was arrested along with others for his alleged involvement in the bomb blast that took place in Ghatkopar on December 2, 2002. His alleged co-accused were acquitted of all charges subsequently by a special court.
While the Crime branch floated fake theory that Yunus escaped when he was being taken to Aurangabad for questioning, a Criminal Investigation Department (CID) inquiry ordered by the high court on a petition filed by his father Ayub Khawaja revealed he was killed in police custody.
The state CID indicted 14 policemen, but the state government sanctioned prosecution for only four of them. The four cops, including retired police inspector Praful Bhosle were given clean chit in late 2010 and were reinstated back in the force. The CID filed chargesheet against Waze and three cops under the IPC sections of murder and fabrication of evidence and falsely stating that Yunus escaped from police custody.
The trial faced several ups and downs. The court on several occasions pulled the cops for failing to produce witnesses to record their testimonies.
Finally On January 17, 2018, prime witness, Dr Abdul Mateen, appeared in the court toldhe saw four other police inspectors from Ghatkopar police station assault Yunus, who was vomiting blood.
Thereafter, special public prosecutor Dhiraj Mirajkar made application to make (retired) ACP Praful Bhosale, senior inspector Rajaram Vhanmane and inspectors Hemant Desai and Ashok Khot accused in the case. The court has been kept pending.
The state government subsequently removed Mirajkar’s appointment in the case. This has been challenged by Yunus’s mother Asiya in the Bombay high court. She has also moved another appeal before the Supreme Court after the Bombay high court had dismissed her plea challenging the government’s decision to refuse sanction to prosecute the cops. This too is pending.
Waze’s defence advocate Rounak Naik said that they too had a plea pending before the high court. “We have challenged the application of Indian Penal Code section 302 (murder) in the case as a case of murder is not made out,” Naik said.

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