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Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Bombay HC seeks police reply on preserving CCTV clips of Ram Navami clashes

The Bombay High Court on Wednesday directed the Mumbai Police to file its affidavit within two weeks on preserving the CCTV footage clips of the Malvani Police Station during the Ram Navami violence that rocked the area in March this year. 

A division bench comprising Justice A.S. Gadkari and Justice Sharmila Deshmukh gave the directions in a writ petition filed by a social worker Jameel Merchant seeking that the Malvani Police share the CCTV footage of the police station. 

The judges have asked the Deputy Commissioner of Police Ajay Bansal to file his affidavit within a fortnight on saving the CCTV footage of the incidents. 

The petitioner’s lawyer Burhan Bukhari argued that the police had conspired to frame his client (Merchant) in the incident by including his name in the FIR. Merchant had filed complaints against the Guardian Minister of Mumbai Mangal Prabhat Lodha, Joint Police Commissioner S.N. Choudhary, Additional Commissioner of Police (North Region), the DCP and the Malvani Police with the Lokayukta and the State Human Rights Commission. 

Bukhari told the court on Wednesday that on August 9, a division bench of Justice Revati Mohite-Dere and Justice Gauri Godse had ordered the Mumbai Police to retrieve the CCTV camera recordings of the incidents that happened inside the Malvani Police Station on March 30, 10.30 p.m. to March 31, 10 a.m., within 24 hours or by August 10. 

It may be recalled that on the evening of March 30, violence erupted between two communities when a Ram Navami procession was passing through the Malvani Sector 5. 

The Malvani Police had rushed to the spot and detained around 400 people and 25 were arrested, including the petitioner Merchant.

Merchant has contended that he was falsely implicated in the case when he was cooperating and actually helping the police control the violent mobs on rampage there that evening. 

He further claimed that the Malvani Police are suppressing the CCTV footage of that night because it would exonerate him from the case, as some political leaders were present there and pressuring the police to include his name.

However, the Special Public Prosecutor Kaushik Mhatre and Assistant Public Prosecutor (Miss) P.P. Shinde had vehemently refuted Merchant’s allegations. 

(The story has been published via a syndicated feed.)

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