• 4 Jan 2016
• Hindustan Times (Mumbai)
• Charul Shah [email protected]
MUMBAI: Even after more than two decades, the trial for the Suleman Usman Bakery encounter during the 1993 riots where nine people had died is yet to begin. This time, the officer in charge of the investigation has failed to appear before the court even after a summons by the court.
The sessions court has now on Friday issued a second summons to the investigating officer for failing to produce the evidence, records and articles seized during the investigation before the court.
In August 2015, sessions judge AS Mahatme was to conduct the trial of the case. However, the investigating agency has failed to appear before the court or answer the summons issued by the court on the earlier occasion, sources said. The court had in August last year, asked the prosecution agency to produce the record and list of the witnesses along with the muddemal (articles seized during the investigation and used as evidence) before the court. However, as the agency failed to comply with the order, the court had issued a summons to the investigating officer. The sources revealed that the court had earlier issued a summons to the investigating officer to submit the report before the court about the records of the case. However, according to sources, the officer has till date not appeared before the court and has also not submitted any report so far. Following this, the judge had again on Friday issued a summons to the officer, the sources revealed.
According to the prosecution case, 17 police officers, including former Mumbai police commissioner RD Tyagi who was the then joint police commissioner (crime), fired at Suleman Bakery and killed nine Muslims on January 9, 1993.
Tyagi and 17 other policemen were charged for murder by the Special Task Force set up by the government in 2000 to act upon the Srikrishna Commission Report into the 1992-93 Mumbai riots. The report found Tyagi and two others responsible for ordering his men to fire at the bakery and the men hiding there and the adjoining mosque. In 2001, a case of murder of nine persons and an attempt to murder of many others was registered. However in 2011, Tyagi and eight other accused were discharged for want of evidence.
Following the order, the case was taken up for fast track hearing against the remaining accused. The accused police officials who are now facing trial are the ones who had opened fire at the masjid. The case was transferred to the Sewree fast track court. Nothing proceeded till 2014, when the court finally framed charges.