Avinash Bali (also known as Avinash Solanki), key witness and the complainant in the case double murder of Keenan Santos and Reuben Fernandes in 2011 has been found murdered in MIDC area at Chakala in Andheri. He had been missing for 24 hours before the body was found. The identity of the body has been confirmed and investigations are underway.
Keenan and Reuben along with their friends, including Avinash Bali had objected to the accused passing lewd remarks at the women in their group as they stood at a paan shop after dinner together. Avinash Bali had slapped Jitendra Rana. Angered, the accused went away and returned with a group of people armed with knives, sticks and cricket stumps and attacked the group. Keenan Santos was fatally injured and died soon after, while Reuben Fernandes died in intensive care later.
Avinash had taken charge and rushed his friends to hospital. He followed up on the case with the police and was the complainant. The accused were both remorseless as well as unafraid after being identified and arrested. There were reports of intimidation of witnesses and political connections of the accused. Police personnel who had come to investigate the chawl where the accused lived were attacked by residents in one instance.
Previous posts summarizing reported news on the case:
While the government promised "fast tracking" the case in the face of public anger, Jitendra Rana, Satish Sulah, Sunil Bodh and Deepak Piwal were convicted and given life imprisonment in the case in 2016.
Anjali Damania reported that she got a threatening call from a number in Pakistan, Karachi asking her to drop all cases against Eknath Khadse.
Transcript of the threatening call to Anjali Damania:
Caller: Anjali bol rahi hai?
Caller: Anjali, tune jo case kiya na khadse pe
Caller: woh waapas le
Anjali: kaun bol raha hai?
Caller: Main koi bhi bol raha hun, tune jo case kiya hai na khadse pe woh waapis le saare case. nahi to tera main jeena haram kar dunga.
Anjali: bol kaun raha hai ya..?
Caller: [inaudible] tu family waali hai na?
Anjali: are par ye kaun, bol kaun raha hai?
Caller: Main koi bhi bol raha hun. woh jaanna tere liye jaroori nahi hai. theek hai? tune bahut jeena haram kar diya hai sabka
True caller shows the number to be from Pakistan.
This is the same number AAP had earlier alleged that Eknath Khadse received calls from Pakistan from. Hacker Manish Bhangale had claimed in a press conference that he had hacked the website of Pakistan Telecommunications to acquire that information. At that time, Eknath Khadse had claimed that his number was inactive and that someone may have cloned his SIM or that the hacker may have planted his number as well. That doesn't explain a call from the number now threatening Anjali Damania to withdraw the case against him.
The number shown in the service request appears to belong to Eknath Khadse.
Anjali Damania has lodged an FIR and informed the Chief Minister and Jt CP Crime is investigating the matter.
Statement by Aam Aadmi Party on threat to Anjali Damania
Khadse Dawood Nexus Exposed Once Again
AAP Condemns threat to Activist Anjali Damania
Press Note 23rd September 2017
In the wee hours of today morning activist Anjali Damania got a call from a Pakistan based number +92 21 35871719. The caller threatened her to withdraw all cases against BJPs Ex Revenue Minisiter Eknath Khadse. Anjali has shared the recorded call in which she and her family have been threatened. Subsequently she informed Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and he has asked Joint Commissioner Crime to investigate the matter.
The Aam Aadmi Party says that this kind of investigation is completely inadequate and the investigation must be handed over specialised agencies like, RAW or IB as this number is said to belong to Dawood Ibrahim.
Ethical hacker Maneesh Bhangale had said this number belongs to Mehjabeen Shaikh, wife of the Dawood Ibrahim and was registered in Karachi. Given below is an attachment that he had shared of a communication between Pakistan Telecom with Mehjabeen Shaikh regarding that same number. Maneesh had said that Eknath Khadse's mobile number was frequently called from this very number - +92 21 35871719. Further, media sources had shown that this number is noted as belonging to Dawood Ibrahim's residence in the files of Indian Intelligence agencies too.
When the AAP demanded that Maneesh Bhangale's claims be investigated the Joint Commissioner Crime had given Ekanth Khadse the fastest in the world - in just 4 hours. How can we expect the same department to do a thorough investigation to the threat to Anjali?! The Joint CP at that time, Atulchandra Kulkarni then moved to ATS where once again he failed to investigate the matter. Instead, on a flimsy complaint by Eknath Khadse's associate Ravi Bhangale, the Cyber Police arrested and is harassing Maneesh Bhangale till date.
This call to Anjali is on Ekanth Khadse's behalf, from Dawood's residence. What more proof is required that Ekanth Khadse and Dawood Ibrahim work together? What is more important is that the state has totally failed to provide safety to Activists and Journalists and we fear for the safety of Anjali Damania and her family. We demand that this investigation be handed over to a national agency which cannot be influenced by Eknath Khadse the way the state Crime Department was influenced in the past. Anjali Damania should be provided police security immediately. The whole state stands with Anjali in her crusade against corruption.
This article about the Maratha Kranti Morcha was published in 2016. It remains as valid today, as Maratha Morcha Mumbai shows power on the streets.
The gigantic Maratha rallies in Maharashtra have flummoxed everyone. Neither the politicians nor the media know what to make of them.
Unprecedented crowds thronged the Pune Maratha Kranti Morcha on 25th September 2016. Even if the claims of 25 lacs are exaggerated, it is undoubtedly the largest gathering Pune has seen. In each city the Maratha Kranti Morcha is breaking records with their numbers. But that’s not the only thing unique about the Maratha Morcha.
The most amazing thing is that it is a silent, peaceful protest, no speeches, no slogans. No wait, the most amazing thing is that it is led by 5 unknown girls who present the charter of demands at the end. In a country that believes one always needs a popular face to ensure success in any field – politics, or andolans, or Bollywood, or sports, the most amazing thing really is that no one knows who the leaders are.
Another really amazing aspect is that any political leader or public figure who tries to hijack the Morcha is respectfully shown the figurative door. Basically it is a movement that on every count has left the people amazed.
Marathas are approximately 35% of the state population and are considered to be the ruling class. Almost every state assembly has had 60% to 70% dominance of Marathas since decades. They are also the land owning class. The Marathas dominate the state’s economy as they control the cooperative sector which runs everything from banks, to credit societies, to agriculture markets, to cotton and sugar mills. This power is concentrated in the hands of the few – some even claim that all cooperatives in the state are owned by less than 200 Maratha families.
Shrewd Maratha Congressmen of yore replaced the old zamindaari system with a modern one – the Maratha strongman in every area joined politics and became an Aamdaar (MLA) or Khaasdaar (MP). They used every trick in the book, nay, they wrote the book, on how to scam and acquire control of government and public lands.
These guys also became contractors, directly or through family members, and they won all government contracts making truckloads of money through corrupt practices. These same politicos floated and controlled cooperatives in every possible area that touched the lives of people – banks, mills, markets. They entered every business that people depend upon – education to transport to power generation. Today these few political families have a stranglehold on the state, and most of them are Marathas. So why then the protest? Because this power class has no connect with the Maratha masses.
The majority of the 35% of Marathas are tillers of small parcels of lands, they are the poor of Maharashtra whose livelihood is held to ransom by everything – from the weather to the rich ruling class. The Maratha Kranti Morchas are not just demanding reservations – they are demanding the right to survive.
Most of the Marathas are ordinary farmers. They are disconnected from the ruling class who has scammed every single resource of the state. Almost all farmer suicides were Marathas. Most farmers in the state had joined the Shetkari Sanghatana as there was a palpable need for organized protest. With the decline of the Shetkari Sanghatana’s various factions, these farmers who were left without any direction have now come together under the Maratha banner, and their issues remain agrarian. The BJP government has failed to make a single constructive step against the anti-farmer policies of the former UPA government – no security of MSP, crop insurance is a farce, and there is no move towards implementing Swaminathan Commission recommendations. Essentially the Maratha protest is a farmer’s protest since their needs have been neglected by every single political party in the State today.
Today farming is not a viable career – its only 11% of the GDP even though 60% of the population works on it. Hence the farmers want alternate careers for their children but the stumbling block here is education. In a bid to promote privatized education for its cronies, Maharashtra politicians have completely neglected public education. The Marathas feel in the race for seats in the few government institutions they are at the losing end due to reservation – and hence the demand for reservation. The solution to this issue is not just reservation – it is vast investment in education infrastructure and making education accessible to the last man. However, the BJP government, just like its predecessor the UPA, does not have education on its agenda – from ‘anganwaadis’ to Universities there is unprecedented corruptionand there is not even an attempt being made to enhance the number of schools and colleges.
Law & Order
There is a breakdown of law and order in the state today and Kopardi is a flashpoint. I visited the victim’s family immediately after the incident and met the villagers. Both Maratha and Dalit members agreed that culprits should be dealt with severely and swiftly and no one felt that caste had any role to play in this most heinous crime witnessed in Maharashtra in recent times. What this incident really showed was the total absence of fear of law in Maharashtra today – the police is viewed as incompetent and corrupt and the government is seen as being unconcerned with justice. Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, commonly known as the Atrocity Act is indeed being misused to frame people – but so are a number of other acts. The misuse of a law does not reflect on the validity of the law, it reflects on the Government that is closing its eyes to the misuse.
Just a few weeks back a journalist in Osmanabad was falsely framed under the atrocity act and despite appeals to the Chief Minister who looks at the Home portfolio, there was no response. If the Home Department fails to act against the corruption or inefficiency or excesses of the police, we have to admit law and order in the state has collapsed. There are almost weekly acts of serious atrocities against Dalits in Maharashtra, and there is a need to protect them so there is no question of doing away with this act.What needs to be addressed is vacuum in the Home Department where the common man cannot appeal against the false and fabricated cases or the wrongdoings and failures of the State Police.
So the Maratha Kranti Morcha, in my view is amazing because it is a fight for survival in a failed state that has ignored the farmers, the students and the victims of growing crimes. There is a dis-enchantment with all political parties today – the incompetent Congress has been replaced by the incompetent BJP and corrupt NCP has been replaced by the corrupt ShivSena and the rest of the traditional parties like RPI and MNS are merely small time opportunists. Since the Maratha Morcha has steered clear of all political parties and focused on issue based demands it has received this unprecedented support.
At the end of the day however, in this deeply caste based society it is a Maratha protest and it is knocking on the doors of Devendra Fadanvis, a Brahmin Chief Minister in a state whose politics have been dominated by Marathas, Dhangars, Malis and Vanjaras.
A prominent builder filed a civil suit against my activist colleague Krish for publishing articles against the builder. Here's what Krish says about the suit:
Last weekend, I was served notice of a Civil Suit filed against myself and one more person (Mr Vineet Malik) by Ekta Parksville Homes Pvt. Ltd, ("Plaintiff"). In this present article, I intend to analyze the infirmities of (a) the civil suit no 36 of 2017 in Vasai Civil Court, (b) the temporary injunction passed by this court against me, and (c) the gag order sought against me under "Order 39 Rule 2A of CPC".
I believe that no law prevents me -- as a journalist, a citizen and a defendant -- from publicly analyzing the legal merits of a suit filed against me, and the legal merits of a temporary injunction that seeks to muzzle me without giving me notice and an opportunity to be heard. Not only is my Right To Freedom of Speech protected by the Constitution, but also, my Fundamental Duties urge me "to develop the scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform".
I consider it my duty as a journalist and a citizen to be rigid and unyielding on such points of principle. Hence, I have analysed the civil suit here:
Analysis of Ekta Builder's Civil Suit Against Me
8th May, 2017: Last week, I was served with notice of a Civil Suit filed against myself and one more person (Mr Vineet Malik) by Ekta Parksville Homes Pvt. Ltd, ("Plaintiff"). This civil suit filed in Vasai Civil Court attempts to gain the court's sympathy by mixing up several unrelated matters, and wrongly invokes the court's territorial jurisdiction to pass temporary injunction against Mr Malik ("Defendent no. 1") and myself ("Defendant no. 2"), in order to suppress certain truths about Ekta's way of doing business from becoming known to a wider public.
In this present article, I intend to analyze the infirmities of (a) the civil suit no 36 of 2017 in Vasai Civil Court, (b) the temporary injunction passed by this court against me, and (c) the gag order sought against me under "Order 39 Rule 2A of CPC". I sincerely believe that no law prevents me -- as a journalist, a citizen and a defendant -- from publicly analyzing the legal merits of a suit filed against me, and the legal merits of a temporary injunction that seeks to muzzle me without giving me notice and an opportunity to be heard. Not only is my Right To Freedom of Speech protected by the Constitution, but also, my Fundamental Duties urge me "to develop the scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform". I consider it my duty as a journalist and a citizen to be rigid and unyielding on such points of principle.
In the words of the plaintiff, according to paragraph no. 54 (page 25) of the civil suit, "the cause of action to file this suit arose for the first time when Plaintiff on 3rd December, 2016 accepted the offer of Defendant No. 1 to terminate the Agreement dated 30/05/2016..., secondly it arose when the Defendant No. 1 failed to accept the refund amount and to execute and register a Deed of cancellation of Agreement... It arose thirdly on _________ when the Defendants published defamatory article for the first time, and lastly on _________ when the Defendants again published 2nd defamatory article. It is continuous cause of action..."
DETAILED ANALYSIS OF THIS SUIT & ORDER:
As you can see from this Causelist, this civil suit is filed under Specific Relief Act 1963, Section 34 and 38. A plain reading of this Act and the relevant sections shows that the only purpose of this Act is the enforcement of contractual obligations. As a journalist writing articles, I have no contractual obligations to the builder ("plaintiff") who has filed this suit. The plaintiff has a contractual dispute with Mr Vineet Malik, and the subject of the dispute is the "suit flat". On page 3 of the civil suit , under the head, "Description of suit property", what is mentioned is "Flat bearing No. 1104 admeasuring approximately 35.60 square metres... in the phase known as Brooklyn Park in the complex known as Ekta Parksville... hereinafter referred to as the "suit flat")". Hence, there is no justification for my inclusion in this suit under the Specific Relief Act, as I have nothing to do with the suit flat, which is the subject of the said suit. I am wrongly and malafidely named in this civil suit. My inclusion is a misjoinder.
Ekta builder ("The Plaintiff") states in paragraph no. 43 that he is "entitled to claim compensation and damages from the Defendants... The plaintiff has suffered monetary loss to the extent of Rs One Hundred Crore... as a result of false and negative public campaign undertaken by the Defendant No. 2 at the behest and in connivance with the Defendant no. 1". If this is so, then Ekta builder is required to provide some proof as to why my writings are "false" and also how he has calculated this grand figure of Rs 100 crore. However, the builder provides no coherent arguments or proofs to substantiate his claims, but he prays for the sweeping reliefs that the court should "Hold and declare that the Defendants have defamed the Plaintiff" (paragraph e on page 27), and seeks a permanent injunction restraining me from publishing anything about any of the Ekta concerns (paragraph h on page 28), besides of course, my paying him damages of Rs 100 crore jointly and collectively with Mr Malik.
Nearly two months BEFORE this notice was served to me, the plaintiff's advocate Avinash Vidwans informed me by email that "Sir, The Hon'ble Civil Judge (S.D.) at Vasai was pleased to pass following Order in Special Civil Suit No. 36 of 2017 , wherein you are Defendant No. 2.: ORDER Heard Ld. Adv. Mr. Vidwans for Plaintiff. Ld. Adv. Ms. Sheetal Pandya appears for Def.No.1 in pursuance of email notice sent to her by the Plaintiff. She has placed on record an undertaking at Exh.10 to not to publish any defamatory material against the Plaintiff till next date. Ld. Advocate for Plaintiff has relied upon certain e-mails sent by Defendant No.2 in reply to Plaintiff’s mail thereby indicating that the Defendant No.2 will regardless of any matter sub-judice proceed to publish two alleged stories against the Plaintiff. It is argued that the Defendant No.2 has made up his mind against the Plaintiff in a prejudiced and biased manner. The e-mails are self-speaking. Hence, it is deemed fit to temporarily restrain the Defendant No.2 from making any such publication which may contain any defamatory material against the Plaintiff till next date or till he appears on the next regular scheduled date. The Plaintiff has made out an urgency and hence it is desirable that the triable issue be set at rest through the intervention of the Court. Plaintiff to communicate the Order to Defendant No.2 and also to effect service of suit summons upon him, if not done earlier."
Here are my views regarding the legality of the above quoted order:
(a) Freedom of Speech and the freedom of Press cannot be so lightly trampled by a mere Civil Judge. My legal commonsense says that every Civil Court cannot enjoy the necessary jurisdiction to pass such such a weighty order, which is a blanket gag nullifying a fundamental right. Only the High Court can have such a jurisdiction.
(b) Even assuming Vasai Civil Court has the necessary territorial jurisdiction, such an order cannot be passed so lightly, without serving proper notice and without giving defendants an opportunity to be heard. Such a weighty order cannot be passed based on printouts of emails produced by the plaintiff, without even seeking to verify from me whether it is true or not!
(c) The suit has been filed, but it has not yet been admitted by the court. It cannot be automatically admitted, without seeking answers to crucial questions about where exactly the dispute and the cause of action arose, determining the territorial jurisdiction of the court, etc. Not even a single proper hearing has happened for establishing the jurisdiction of this court, and whether the parties named in it are correctly imp-leaded. If a gag order can be passed at such a preliminary stage by a Civil Judge, then the mass media and social media throughout the country can be brought to a grinding halt by every Tom, Dick and Harry seeking such temporary injunctions.
(d) If journalists start getting muzzled so lightly with so little due process, then it will cause grievous injury to our nation, as all kinds of blanket muzzling orders will be sought by wrongdoers. For me, journalism is a calling, a way of life, and not just a way of earning my daily bread. I cannot, in good conscience, bring myself to obey such an badly-formed judicial order.
This suit that Ekta has filed is not a defamation suit; it is a mixed-up and confused suit. This suit is under the "Specific Relief Act" for performance of contractual duties, and it does not argue even one point as to why my writings are defamatory; it only relies on the bland assertion that whatever I have written is defamatory and derogatory. I would invite the builder to file a proper defamation suit against me, wherein the exact material that I have published would have to be closely examined in court. Let us stop being vague and get into the particulars of my so-called defamation. In a civil defamation suit, I would be given ample opportunity to prove that each and every one of my statements is true and based on facts and documents, and also that my writings are intended to warn and protect the public against exploitation by a builder. I want to be given that opportunity.
Non-applicability of Plaintiff's Application under Order 39 Rule 2A of CPC to my case: Let us understand what is this Order 39 Rule 2A of Civil Procedure Code. Cases in which temporary injunction may be granted.
"1.Where in any suit it is proved by affidavit or otherwise-
(a) that any property in dispute in a suit is in danger of being wasted, damaged or alienated by any party to the suit, or wrongfully sold in execution of a decree, or
(b) that the defendant threatens, or intends, to remove or dispose of his property with a view to [defrauding] his creditors,
[(c) that the defendant threatens to dispossess, the plaintiff or otherwise cause injury to the plaintiff in relation to any property in dispute in the suit,]
the Court may be order grant a temporary injunction to restrain such act, or make such other order for the purpose of staying and preventing the wasting, damaging, alienation, sale, removal or disposition of the property [or dispossession of the plaintiff, or otherwise causing injury to the plaintiff in relation to any property in dispute in the suit] as the Court thinks fit, until the disposal of the suit or until further orders."
In short, temporary Injunction under Order 39 Rule 2A of CPC is for protecting contractual obligations or interests in a suit relating to a disputed property. Can this rule be invoked for muzzling a journalist who has no contractual ties with the plaintiff? I seriously doubt it.
WHY THIS SUIT IS MALA-FIDE:
This civil suit is a hotchpotch of three distinct kinds of civil suits that cannot be mixed. This civil suit attempts to blur the clear lines between a suit for: (a) enforcement of a contract between two parties (b) resolving a dispute (c) seeking damages for defamation and resultant loss of business, and seeking legal protection from further defamation.
This civil suit creates a false narrative that a huge complicated contractual relationship exists between Mr Malik and Ekta.The fact of the matter is, their contractual relationship is simple -- that of a flat-purchaser with a builder who failed to honour his contractual obligation to give timely possession of a flat in Virar, complete with Occupation Certificate. Everything else is just hot air.
The suit seeks to divert attention from the fact that the terms of cancellation offered by the builder were rejected by Mr Malik, and, as the original Flat Purchase Agreement has yet not been cancelled, this agreement is the only one that is enforceable by law, and the builder is in breach of it. This civil suit tries to abuse the court mechanism to force Mr Malik, virtually at gun-point, to accept the builder's terms for cancellation of the flat-purchase agreement, by which he is currently bound.
Although this is a suit filed under Specific Relief Act, the plaintiff (Ekta) does not specifically name any existing contract that he wants enforced through the court. Ekta implies several obligations of the defendants to himself, without actually specifying which contract confers such obligationss. The current civil suit is therefore, in a nutshell, malafide, frivolous, vexatious and deserving of being dismissed at the admission stage itself, with costs if possible.
Can writing and publishing this present article be considered as Contempt of Court – whether Civil or Criminal? Can it be considered defamatory? Can it be considered a violation of the temporary injunction of the Civil Court? I would very much like the builder to present this before the Hon'ble Civil Judge, and I would invite the learned Judge to apply his judicial mind to every word of this article. If the Hon'ble Civil Court, in its great wisdom, feels that this constitutes Defamation, Contempt etc., I will be quite happy to stand trial for it.
DISCLAIMER: I am writing this as an independent journalist and blogger, on my own behalf. I am NOT upholding Mr Vineet Malik's case, and I don't care what stand he or his defense lawyers choose to take. I haven't earned a paisa from Mr Malik, and I have no personal interest in his business dealings with Ekta or anyone else. Nor do I have any personal enmity and ill-will towards Ekta builders. At the core of this present article is my burning curiosity to find out whether freedom of speech is really protected in our beloved country, or whether such protection is lightly cast aside by frivolous civil suits and temporary injunctions without so much as a notice, let alone a hearing.
This post continues from where the earlier one about the Facts of the Keenan and Reuben Case ended. That one was getting too long, and new information was coming in. This is fairly comprehensive - I think.
This post takes over from where the previous one about the facts of the murder of Keenan and Reuben ended. With new information coming in, I thought it better to create a fresh one with updated understanding and more meticulously referenced sources. You probably don't need to refer to the older one anymore unless you are really researching the case.
According to the FIR, the brawl ensued when Jitendra Rana, the prime accused was getting too close to the group (victims). Avinash Bali, a member of the group asked him to keep his distance. However, Rana continued his behaviour and told Bali that he was acting smart just because he was accompanied by girls. Bali slapped him and this prompted Rana and three of his accomplices and return with choppers, the FIR revealed.
The FIR stated that the accused then assaulted the victim with it, killing Santos (October 20) and seriously injuring Fernandez, who succumbed to his injuries on November 2.
This pretty much summarizes what happened. The details of the confessions, sources, etc will be found in the previous post on the facts of the case linked at the start.
Police sources said Solanki alias Bali has been an informant for over a decade. He has provided tip-offs to the Anti-Narcotics Cell on many occasions, following which raids have been conducted. Earlier, Solanki was an informer for an encounter specialist attached to the Juhu police station. Solanki provided information on gangland movement to the encounter specialist.
I don't know if this above information is relevant. TOI has dedicated an entire article where Bali comes off very badly with allegations ranging from blocking access to parents to political partisanship. Reporters having little instinct for presenting data and hunch distinctly, there is no way of knowing how much of this is obstruction and how much is perception. Not directly relevant to the case.
Kept this here on the off chance that in some bizarre twist, Bali's work as informer turns out to be relevant to the motive/attack. Chances low.
It was Solanki who landed the slap on main accused Jitendra Rana on the ill-fated night.
He said he did not mention sexual harassment in the FIR because he was traumatized by what had happened and wanted to protect the girls. "However, it became necessary to give the full story. I flew to Delhi to convince the parents of one girl to allow her to give her statement to the police. Another victim is from a conservative background but I appealed to her parents to come forward as well," he said.
The police have now slapped Sections 509 and 506 of the Indian Penal Code — the former deals with word or gesture intended to outrage the modesty of a woman, while the latter deals with criminal intimidation.
I don't know if anyone remembers me speculating about the impact of showing the faces of the suspects on TV. Apparently, that hunch was right.
After being vocal about their sons' demise, the families of Keenan Santos and Reuben Fernandes are now refusing to talk to the media.According to the police, the families are upset that the photograph of the main accused had been made public by the media. This has in turn weakened the case, the police said.
Vijay Bhoite, senior inspector, DN Nagar police station said, "The identification parade was the most important part of the entire case. However, our case has been hampered since the main accused, Jitendra Rana's, photo has been made public by the media."
The DN Nagar police will conduct the identification parade of the four accused in double murder case next week.On October 20, Keenan Santos and Reuben Fernandes died after they got involved in a scuffle with a drunk man outside the Amboli Bar and Kitchen Restaurant. Also, the police will conduct the identification parade of the 17 persons who had prevented a police team from arresting the main accused, Jitendra Rana, and his three accomplices. All 17 are currently lodged in Arthur Road jail. “The charge sheet in the case will be filed and submitted before 90 days,” said Vijay Bhoite, senior inspector, DN Nagar police station.
In response to an inquiry requested by Benjamin Fernandez, the brother of Amboli murder victim Reuben, as to why the police questioned Reuben while he was in the ICCU at Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital, zonal DCP Pratap Dighavkar said that no such interrogation took place."We conducted an inquiry and found that a constable from D N Nagar police station had gone to the hospital. Constables are not supposed to question a victim. So, it is not true that he tried to quiz Reuben. He had only gone to collect a letter from the doctors, stating the exact condition of Reuben," Dighavkar said.
And thisshould be investigated independently. Because if we go by logic, the families of victims neededthe cooperation of both the police as well as hospital, so it makes no sense to antagonize them with allegations. And yes, the information that the hospital was being difficult with Reuben's treatment as well as this police visit was known while he was still alive, so it doesn't make sense as a case of finding someone to blame.
Verifying this should be fairly easy with CCTVs. And these CCTVs too not working should definitely be seen as a reason for more investigation.
In the quote below, B. Raman makes an important point.
The most shocking aspect of the incident was the utterly shameful and shocking and inhuman inaction of a group of about 40 bystanders, who watched the two boys being surrounded and murdered by the hooligans without the least attempt to go to their rescue. They watched as if they were watching a street play. I can understand — but will not excuse— if there were only one or two bystanders and they were afraid of intervening. There were about 40 of them. There was no excuse for their inaction. There were so many things they could have done. They could have raised an alarm and collected more people. They could have intervened physically. But they did nothing. They just watched— not in horror, not with shock, but just with a sense of disinterested curiosity. They probably saw it as a quarrel between young men over women and as none of their business. Even the use of a knife by one of the hooligans for repeatedly stabbing did not make them intervene.Even more shocking than the passive attitude of the bystanders was the attitude of some of the people in a nearby restaurant as narrated by one of the girl friends to Barkha. According to her, after the hooligans had run away, when she pleaded to the people in the restaurant to help her in taking care of the injured and dying, none of them came forward to help her. Can one imagine anything more inhuman and callous?
This inaction of the bystanders and others shows to what extent inhuman traits have seeped into our society. The only way of dealing with it is through education and creation of awareness of our duty as members of the society and citizens of this country. Under the law, watching a person being killed without going to his or her rescue is itself a crime. The police should prosecute not only the perpetrators, but also those bystanders who can be identified.
And it is worth asking why the bystanders are not being prosecuted as well. Including the restaurant,paanwala, coconut seller, whoever else, including people on the street whocan be identified, and unidentified people.
Though I have a hunch that we may not have a good law covering this, or it would be widely known, seeing as how often it gets violated. Not to mention someone bringing it up for this case itself.
Four men have been arrested for the murders of Keenan Santos and Reuben Fernandes, and a senior IPS official has said that some of the accused have confessed to being directly involved in the crime. "However, such confessions have no value in court. Therefore, we will soon seek the consent of all the accused to record their statements before a magistrate," the officer said. "If they agree, we would be able to present our case before the court in a better manner."
It will be a stroke of luck if they agree, seeing as how it would pretty much be the nail on their coffin.
While there were reports that Jitendra Rana, the main accused in the Amboli double murder, was a history sheeter, a senior police officer said this was not the case. D N Nagar senior police inspector Vijay Kumar Bhoite said, "Rana does not have any past criminal record."
There were also reports that Rana has connections with Swabhimaan Sanghatana, an NGO headed by Nitesh Rane, younger son of senior Congress leader and industries minister Narayan Rane. However, the NGO has distanced itself from Rana. "Rana's performance in the organization was not satisfactory and he was asked to resign. Six months back, he had resigned," said Rajesh Bagdi, spokesperson for the NGO.
Yeah, right. If he were still a member, they would say that he was, and that they supported him, etc. This is meaningless verification in the face of the massive banner - I have an image of the banner, but seeing as how the identification parade hasn't yet happened, I think it is wiser to not further publish Rana's face.
A couple of hours after the fight, at around the time that Keenan was declared dead and Reuben had finally been taken to a hospital, Rana was at the local office of Nitesh Rane’s Swabhimaan Sangathana, a party with which he has close links. At the entrance to Anand Nagar, for example, a giant hoarding propped up on a metal frame wishes residents of Amboli ‘Happy Diwali’. On this banner, put up by Swabhimaan Sangathana workers, are prominent photographs of both Nitish Rane and Jitendra Rana.
Main accused in Amboli murders is a b...
November 10, 2011 2:50:01 PM EST
It is unknown how this information was verified, but going by this, Swabhimaan Sangathana has exactly zero luck of convincing anyone of his exit from their party.
Bagdi blamed the banner makers for a recent Diwali banner of the Swabhimaan Sanghatana that included a picture of Rana. "Since those involved in making the banner were not aware of Rana's resignation, his picture was displayed," Bagdi said.
Jitendra Rana is 30; a barber by profession, a small-time political muscleman in his spare time, a father of two and the sole breadwinner in a household of six (his job at an up-market Lokhandwala salon earns him Rs 35,000 a month). His neighbours at Anand Nagar in Andheri, where he grew up, describe him as a hot-headed person prone to bouts of violence. Residents of Valmiki Nagar near Amboli, which he visits often, say he is a trouble-maker, a man who loves to pick fights.His immediate family refuse to speak, neither about him nor about the incident that sparked a wave of anger that has swept across the city over the last three weeks.
Main accused in Amboli murders is a b...
November 10, 2011 2:42:59 PM EST
Senior inspector Bhoite said, "According to our inquiry, Jitendra Rana is not a part of Swabhimaan Sanghatana." A DN Nagar police official said, "Rana was arrested from Valmiki Nagar."
Again, there is no information on the source of this information. Therefore, I don't know if it is simply an "Afternoon style" claim repeated, or something verified. Particularly since the previous quote (about Bali) that sounded "odd" was also TOI.
Valmiki Nagar is a slum pocket made up of 150 shanties packed together so tightly that sunlight barely creeps through into the tiny lanes between houses. At one end of the colony lives Rana’s sister, her husband and her in-laws.On the evening of October 20, Rana was at his sister’s house for her nephew’s birthday party and had stepped out for a smoke with four of his friends when they saw the group of friends that included Keenan and Reuben outside Amboli Kitchen and Bar and started passing lewd remarks about three women who were with them. “When the fight got ugly he called for help from locals,” a housewife said, while others around her nodded in agreement. “Several boys and even women rushed in his direction after being told that he and some others had been beaten for no fault of theirs. By the time most of us reached the spot, two boys were down. He had ruthlessly picked up a knife from a shop and attacked two of the boys.”
Main accused in Amboli murders is a b...
November 11, 2011 10:34:06 AM EST
So these are the bystanders - part of them at least.
Some history of the other killers:
Dulhaj, who led the attack on Keenan Santos and Reuben Fernandez on October 20 outside the Amboli Bar and Kitchen, Andheri (West), was booked in an attempt-to-murder case last year. He is notorious in Valmiki Nagar, Andheri (West), where he lives along with his wife, three children, mother and a brother. He is a sweeper in a housing society in Andheri (West).
The attempt-to-murder case was filed against him on Diwali last year after a complaint from a neighbour, Jitendra Piwal. Recounting the incident, Piwal told TOI: "My daughter, along with other children, was celebrating Diwali when Satish (Dulhaj) with a few of his friends lit a firecracker and threw it on the children. I objected to this, leading to a heated argument between us."The argument turned ugly. Satish hit me with a rod, fracturing my hand. I lodged a compliant with the police. Following that, a case under the IPC's section 307 (attempt to murder) was slapped on him." On the arrest of Dulhaj and two other Valmiki Nagar residents (Bodh and Tival) in the Amboli case, Piwal said: "Satish and his friends were good-for-nothings. The gang would crowd at the entrance of our slum and try to trip passersby. It is good that Satish is behind bars."
Tival, a 19-year-old sweeper accused of hitting Reuben’s brother, Benjamin, with a stump, was arrested the next day, though his father insists his son could not have hurt anyone. “My son ran towards the spot with everyone else when he heard about the fight. I wasn’t at the spot, but from what I heard, my son never attacked anyone,” Tival’s father Ishwar said. “If my son is guilty he should be hanged, but I strongly believe he had nothing to do with the murder.” Tival, who suffered tuberculosis as a child and still undergoes medication for it twice a year, works as a sweeper at the Amboli Police Station.
Main accused in Amboli murders is a b...
November 10, 2011 2:49:41 PM EST
This below is interesting and I think related more to the socio-poiltical developments from this incident, because I don't think you can convict someone on a law that is created/changed after the crime. However, I am not a lawyer and this is just a stray thing I remember from the Wikileaks storm earlier. Or maybe that is US laws and in India it can be done. I don't know.
Patil added that although the case is under investigation, the state government is working towards strengthening sections 354 and 509 of the Indian Penal Code, which deal with acts of sexual harassment. "We have put our request to the central government, but we are yet to hear from them," he said.
Now here is the strange part. The police seem certain that star public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam will be fighting this case, politicians sound fairly open (eager almost) to provide whatever the family wants to strengthen their case and Ujjwal Nikam seems to be part of that, yet no one has actually spoken to Ujjwal Nikam at all. So what is happening here?
The police are in talks with special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam for fighting the case.
The IPS official said the home department has roped in leading criminal lawyer Ujwal Nikam to represent the home department. "We are in regular touch with Nikam. We will seek his opinion and guidance when we reach the stage of filing the chargesheet. In fact, the chargesheet will be filed after his approval," he said.
On Wednesday, complainant in the case, Avinash Solanki alias Bali, had claimed that the government had appointed Nikam as the special prosecutor in the case. Home minister RR Patil clarified that the families of victims had indeed requested the government to have senior counsel Ujwal Nikam fight their case, but stopped short of confirming the appointment. "We had promised to provide whichever counsel they ask for. Accordingly, we will get Nikam to fight their case," Patil told Hindustan Times.
Advocate Ujjwal Nikam has denied reports that he has been officially appointed as the special public prosecutor in the Amboli double murder case.“I have read about it in the newspapers,” Nikam told Hindustan Times. “But, so far I have received no word from the state government.”
Silveira said the minister was told about the suspected negligence in Fernandes’ treatment at the Kokilaben Ambani Hospital. He said, “By October 25, Fernandes was talking normally, his reflexes were normal and he even tried to walk. Doctors told us that they would start physiotherapy. But his condition suddenly deteriorated by October 29 and he began vomiting blood.“On October 31, when he required immediate surgery, the chief surgeon was on leave. We told them to arrange for a good surgeon from another hospital, but they refused saying it was against the rules. My friend died of excessive bleeding.” Benjamin said the minister assured them that a panel of government doctors would conduct an inquiry. “He also said a doctor would be appointed to monitor the panel to ensure impartiality.”
Just want to note here that you can refer to the previous post for links to Facebook updates about difficulty dealing with the doctors *before* Reuben died. Justin case anyoneis inclined to think that this is grief and disappointment fabricating the complaint.
And what of the 17 who are in custody? “Over the next few days, we’ll figure out how to get them out,” another resident said. “But we will not raise our voice for the four main accused. What they have done is unforgivable.”
Main accused in Amboli murders is a b...
November 10, 2011 2:42:59 PM EST
Caught on the sidelines of the Amboli double murder , the families of 17 men arrested in a separate rioting case insist on their innocence. The 17 allegedly rioted when the police went to arrest the four murder accused on October 21, a day after the killing.
As of now, their families - all in Valmiki Nagar - are scrambling to try and put together money for bail. “They’ve been booked under false charges. We’ve been trying to get help from local politicians but none of them have helped,” said a resident. “Most of us have been voting for the local Shiv Sena coroporator and often invite him for our functions. But when we approached him, he refused to help. Even the local Congress leader who comes here often, brushed us off. We will show them in the (upcoming BMC) elections. None of us will vote.”
Main accused in Amboli murders is a b...
November 10, 2011 6:14:19 AM EST
"My husband (Hemsingh Kagad) was picked up by police who came in the early morning. When I asked why they were taking him, the plainclothes policemen said it was a routine formality and they would soon release him," said Rosy Kagad. She said the cops broke down the main door of her shanty. "Since the whole family was sleeping, it took time to open the door. The impatient policemen broke open the main door," said Rosy.
Sulochana Chandalia is distraught . Her husband, son and son-in-law , who were visiting from their hometown in Haryana, were rounded up by the police. One of the murder accused Jitendra Rana, 25, is their relative and was at a birthday party at their home a few hours before the violence on October 20. "He had left the party and after that we don't know what happened. The police came knocking later and picked up the men in our house, though the men had nothing to do with what happened at the paan shop," said Sulochana.
So either the families are pretending to not understand, or they don't actually know that their people have been arrested for messing with the cops and not assisting with the murder.
Additional commissioner of police (western suburbs) Vishwas Nagre Patil however said the mob had obstructed the police from arresting the four murder accused. "They heatedly argued and scuffled with the police , which is why they were picked up," he said.
One mystery question remains. If the same people who "eve teased" returned for choppers and back up, why didn't they use either choppers or back up to kill? Why take the coconut seller's knife and use stump, etc if they had choppers? Why attack before backup arrived? This post will get updated now, not the earlier one or a new link added if more content comes in.