Developments in the Keenan and Reuben case
- 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.
- “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.
- This is why initial case was murder only, and other charges are now added.
- 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.
- The following news is significant. How, remains to be known. Why was he changed is obviously the important question. The other important question being if the change helps the case or not.
- The following news is seriously good. Evidence trumps confessions/statements any day.
- They have to go ahead with the identification parade anyway.
- “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.
- Now here is the strange one.
- “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.
- “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.
- 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.
- “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.
- 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.”
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.
- 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.
- 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 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.
- In other news, the expected storm over the hospital’s mishandling of Reuben’s treatment has hit.
- “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.”
- Reuben’s family: ‘Want all medical reports’
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.Here is what is happening with the extras.
- “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.”
- ““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.
- 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.