Mangalore, September 14: In a major relief to four policemen, including city crime branch police inspector HN Venkatesh Prasanna, a single bench of the Karnataka high court on Thursday dismissed a demand for CBI probe against them for their alleged role in the murder of human rights advocate Naushad Kashimji.
Naushad, who was shot dead outside his apartment in Mangalore on Apr 9, 2009, was allegedly warned by four police officers as he was appearing in court defending the alleged aide of Chota Shakeel, Rasheed Malbari.
Naushad’s senior, Purushottam Pujary, had lodged a complaint with Pandeshwar police station accusing the hand of four police officers in the killing of Naushad the same evening after he was allegedly warned by the officers on April 9, 2010.
When the probe did not make a headway, Nusrath Jahan, wife of the slain advocate had moved the High Court demanding that CBI probe the role of DySP Jayanth Shetty, police inspectors Prasanna, Valentine D'Souza and then PSI Shivaprakash in the death of her husband. A single division bench headed by AS Bopanna in his order found that there was no merit in an earlier order of Justice Mohan Shantanagoudar directing that the CBI probe the role of the police officials.
Following Justice Shantanagoudar's order, the state government filed an appeal before the division bench of the high court, which dismissed a suo motu petition filed against the four police officials which accused them of killing a lawyer in an encounter.
The PIL was filed after SICHREM members wrote to then chief justice seeking his intervention after Purushottam Poojari, senior of Khasimji, gave a complaint that he suspected foul play behind his junior's murder.
The chief justice directed the court to look into the matter. At first the case was treated as habeas corpus, and later taken as PIL. Following this, there was a demand for CBI probe alleging it was an encounter by police as Khasimji was active in filing PILs against them.
The Majlis-e-Islah-o-Tanzeem, an NGO representing Bhatkal Muslims, held a rally and submitted a memorandum to state human rights commission demanding a CBI probe.
A division bench headed by chief justice Vikramjit Sen and BV Nagarathna observed that the order of Justice Shantanagoudar was not in detail and also not a case in rarest of rare category to be referred to CBI. The case was then referred to single division bench headed by Justice Bopanna.
It may be recalled that the police had arrested six persons in connection with the murder of advocate within 15 days of the incident. They were Dinesh (24), a resident of Belthangady; Rithesh (20), a resident of Kodikal; Prathap (26), a resident of Kavoor; Ganesh (28) of Kodikal; Subrahmanya (24) of Kadri and Shivaprakash (30) of Urwa Store. The police had also seized three 9 mm pistols, 8 rounds of ammunition, Rs 3,53,060 in cash, three mobile phones, Maruthi 800 car and 4 pistol-magazines.