Vadodara ‘custodial killing:’ Court refuses anticipatory bail to accused cop

The anticipatory bail plea was moved by Dilipsinh Rathod, then the then sub-inspector at the Fatehgunj police station, who was termed as “absconding” at the time of filing of the chargesheet.

A Vadodara trial court Friday refused to grant anticipatory bail to one of the accused police officers in the alleged custodial killing of a 65-year-old migrant from Telangana in 2019, on the ground that he had been listed as “absconding” in the chargesheet and that he had conducted a faulty inquiry into the alleged murder.

Babu Nisar Shaikh was apprehended by Fatehgunj police in Vadodara on suspicion of theft on December 10, 2019, and is suspected to have been tortured to death at the Fatehgunj police station.

The anticipatory bail plea was moved by Dilipsinh Rathod, then the then sub-inspector at the Fatehgunj police station, who was termed as “absconding” at the time of filing of the chargesheet.

According to Rathod’s submissions before the Vadodara sessions court, there was nothing on record to indicate that he was “either present in the police station when the deceased Babubhai Shaikh was being tortured or has played any active role in torturing the deceased or has interrogated the deceased.”

It was also the accused’s case that he is being “victimised by the higher police officials due to their personal enmity.”

The additional public prosecutor however opposed the accused’s plea, submitting that Rathod had conducted an inquiry into the incident in a manner that would “misdirect the entire investigation.”

The court upon perusal of records, observed that the police inspector of Fatehgunj police station at the time, DB Gohil, who is also one of the main accused in the case, had ordered Rathod to conduct an inquiry in a bid to create “defence for himself (Gohil)…” Rathod’s inquiry report had “outrightly exonerated” Gohil of the accusations of killing Shaikh.

The court of sessions judge Mangesh Rameshchandra Mengdey refused to grant him anticipatory bail primarily on the ground that records reflected that Rathod the inquiry into the incident in a “manner which was absolutely contrary to the inquiry being conducted by the higher officials….it also appears that the applicant was well aware about the fact that the matter was being inquired into by the higher officials and therefore, it was incumbent upon the applicant (Rathod) to draw the attention of the higher police officials about the fact that he was ordered by…DB Gohil to conduct the inquiry in a particular manner.”

The court also observed that Rathod has been termed as “absconding” in the chargesheet, which was also factored in by the judge to reject the anticipatory bail application.

Six of the accused persons in the case — Inspector DB Gohil, Sub-Inspector DM Rabari and Lok Rakshak Dal jawans Pankaj Mavjibhai, Yogendra Jilansinh, Rajiv Savjibhai and Hitesh Shambubhai — are in judicial custody.

Rathod and assistant sub inspector Mahesh Rathwa were later added as accused in the chargesheet.

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