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Accused says lawyer told him to escape from custody

Yogesh Raut, one of the main accused in the sensational rape and murder case of software engineer Naina Pujari, has revealed in the police investigation that his defence lawyer BA Aloor had advised him to escape from Sassoon General Hospital in 2011. Raut had escaped from the clutches of the police team, escorting him on September 17, 2011 to the general hospital and he was re-arrested on May 31, 2013, from a Shirdi bus stand when he returned from Delhi.


The scene of crime: The spot where (inset) Naina Pujari wa raped and killed. File pics

The police on July 29 submitted a chargesheet and the statement Raut’s statements were recorded. Raut, in his statement after the re-arrest, stated that he had given Rs 2,000 to crook Nitin Modha, who was also lodged in Yerawada jail in 2011, to arrange for the doctor at Yerawada Central Jail hospital to refer him to Sassoon Hospital for treatment.

Raut said, “When I was in jail, everyone told me that I would be given the death penalty in the case and I was scared and depressed. My earlier counsel Aloor then told me that I had only one option left with me, and that was to escape custody.”

Raut then discussed the idea with Modha, who endorsed the idea and cited the example of a jail inmate Sarpanch Chorge, who had escaped the custody while being escorted to the hospital. Raut then asked Modha for help and gave him money to him to manage affairs with the doctors and police. “When I met my brother Manoj in court at a proceeding, I took Rs 2,000 from him and gave it to Modha to get the job done,” stated Raut in his statement.

Raut further stated that Modha influenced the jail doctor through his peon and after a nominal check up, the doctor certified that Raut had severe body itching and referred him to Sassoon Hospital for further treatment. “On September 17, 2011, I was brought to the hospital in a police van where I requested police constable Patil to allow me meet my relatives, but he demanded Rs 2,000 for that. I gave him the money by borrowed from my brother,” Raut said in his statement. 

The policeman then removed his handcuffs and allowed him to sit with his family. When the cop got distracted Raut escaped.  He went to Delhi and two days later visited the Golden Temple at Amritsar, as he had run out of money. He worked at a dhaba for a year and a half as Ravikumar Ashok Bhalla of Uttar Pradesh. Later, he worked in Delhi. During this period, he visited his family in Pune twice and even stayed for a few days.

When contacted, Aloor refuted Raut’s claims and said that he had been falsely implicated in the case by the cops and said that he had never spoken to Raut other than for case-related matters. “I will send a legal notice to the investigating officer for defaming me and implicating me in the case,” said Aloor.
Meanwhile, Satish Govekar, the investigating officer, and the police inspector said that it is premature to say whether action would be taken against Aloor, however, Modha, who is in jail, would be taken into custody.

The murder case
Naina Pujari was gang-raped and murdered on October 7, 2009. She was abducted on her way home from Syenchron Technologies, the IT company in Kharadi where she worked. Her body was found the next day at Zarewadi Phata near Rajgurunagar in Khed. Yogesh Raut is the main accused in Naina’s murder. Three others stand accused in the case. Yogesh said in his statement that he escaped custody after the advice of his lawyer BA Aloor.

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