Mumbai police checking on info on death of Aruna Shanbaug's assailant

Mumbai: Mumbai Police is verifying an information that Sohanlal Bhartha Valmiki, who brutally assaulted Aruna Shanbaug at the KEM hospital here leaving her in a vegetative state for 42 years, was no more.

Senior Police Inspector at Bhoiwada police station, which investigated the case, said his infomation is that Valmiki died a few years back. But the official line of the police is that it has to be verified and confirmed.

"As per our information Valmiki died sometime in 2000 though exact location where he died, we don't know," said S S Tondwalkar, Senior Police Inspector of Bhoiwada Police station, which booked Valmiki after the incident in November 1973.

"Our information is that he later had HIV infection and died due to problems arising from it," he told PTI.

Aruna Shanbaug. File pic/IANS

When asked about the matter, Joint Commissioner of Police (law and order) Deven Bharti said "we have such an information and we are in the process of verifying this information".

Aruna Shanbaug, who became the face of the debate on euthanasia in India, died at the KEM hospital here on Monday.

Valmiki was caught and convicted, and served two concurrent seven-year sentences for assault and robbery, but neither for rape or sexual molestation. "Since accused and victim both are no more this case is shut," Tondwalkar said, adding that for their personal perusal Bhoiwada Police has written a letter to the Sessions Court to get details of the case.

"Yes, we have requested the court to furnish the information of 42-year-old case seeking case number, on what grounds Valmiki was convicted etc," Tondwalkar said. The senior PI said that police has sought court's help to go into the depth of the case as the officer who investigated it must have died.

Meanwhile, the Maharashtra government has said it has no plan to reopen the case of Aruna Shanbaug unless the court orders so.

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