Making drastic observations, Bombay High Court has granted bail to three men accused of murdering Shaikh Mohsin. The single bench of Justice Mridula Bhatkar granted bail to the three accused observing – “The fault of the deceased was only that he belonged to another religion. I consider this factor in favour of the applicants/accused. Moreover, the applicants/accused do not have criminal record and it appears that in the name of the religion, they were provoked and have committed the murder.”
Justice Bhatkar was hearing the bail applications filed by Vijay Gambhire, Ranjeet Yadav and Ajay Lage. These three have been booked for offences punishable under 302, 307, 143, 147, 148, 149, 120B and 153 A of the Indian Penal Code. Their bail was rejected by a sessions court in Pune.
According to the prosecution the murder took place on June 2, 2014. There was a meeting conducted by one Hindu Rashtra Sena at Hadapsar, Pune regarding the incident of defiling of the statue of King Shivaji Maharaj and accused Dhananjay Desai made “instigating speeches” and thereafter all the accused armed with weapons on two wheelers started moving on the road. They spotted the deceased, Shaikh Mohsin along with two other men and attacked them with sticks and bats. One of Mohsin’s companions escaped at the time of the incident.
One of the surprising facts recorded in the order was that the prosecution submitted that “Deceased was wearing a pastel green colour shirt and had sported a beard and therefore, the accused and the co-accused targeted Mohsin and his friend Wasim and started assaulting him with hockey sticks, bats and stones.”
After going through the FIR, the witness statements Justice Bhatkar observed- “It is apparent that the applicants/accused were present at the time of the incident. There are statements of the witnesses and the police officer that the applicants/accused had attended a meeting of Hindu Rashtra Sena on the same day half an hour before the actual incident of the assault.”
Although one of the terms based on which bail has been granted is that the accused shall not associate themselves with any religious organisation of such as the Hindu Rashtra Sena, the observations made in the order will have far reaching ramifications, especially in terms of how the law is laid down in such cases.
Read the order here.