Two accused of beating man to death in train fight acquitted

Two youth accused of murdering a young man in a violent fight for space on a train were recently acquitted by the fast track sessions court at Sewri. The court noted that the death was accidental, as the fatal injury came from a fall on the platform. On July 1, 2011, during rush hour, Nadeem Ansari, now deceased, and his three friends Jafer Shaikh, Sufiyan Ansari and Khalid Shaikh were returning to Kurla from a mosque in Reay Road. They were standing close to the bogey’s door.

According to the prosecution, the two accused — Babu Bhot (24) from Mankhurd and Sonu Chauhan (22), who lives in Byculla — kicked Nadeem while boarding the train, sparking the fight. When the train reached Chunabhatti, the accused got off the train, dragging Nadeem with them. Nadeem’s three friends came to his rescue, and an all-out brawl ensued on the platform.

After having pounded Nadeem and being beaten by his friends, the accused allegedly boarded the next train and escaped. Nadeem was taken to Bhabha Hospital in Kurla by his friends and later transferred to KEM Hospital, where he succumbed on July 4.

The arrests
Nadeem’s friends had initially told his father, Mohammed Ansari, that Nadeem had fallen on the platform while trying to board a train. But the doctor treating him at KEM told the father that Nadeem had died after being assaulted. When the father confronted the trio, they admitted there had been a fight. The father lodged an FIR against his son’s friends, who were arrested by police.

During investigations, the friends told the police a fight had broken out on the train. Jafer agreed to point out the accused men, who were regular commuters. On July 8, Jafer identified Babu, who on interrogation revealed the name of Sonu. Nadeem’s friends were then released. In an identification parade on July 25, the trio identified the two men.

The trial
During the trial, the accused duo claimed to have been falsely implicated. The court in its judgment observed that there was ‘absolutely no evidence’ against the duo. Additional sessions judge GD Tadwalkar noted, “The prosecution has relied mainly on statements of three friends of deceased… disparity [in their statements] casts a shadow of doubt on the evidence of the three friends, who themselves were once accused.”
Jafer had told the cops that the accused were inebriated, something his other two friends had not mentioned. Khalid had stated that Nadeem had tripped while running to the aid of his friends, hitting his head on the platform. Sufiyan had told the doctor at Bhabha Hospital that Nadeem had fallen at Sion, at odds with the theory that the fight broke out at Chunabhatti.

The court concluded that it was the four friends who had instigated the fight. “When they started assaulting, it is but natural that the accused have every right to defend themselves… It cannot be said that [kicks and blows were] with intention to commit murder,” Tadwalkar observed. Moreover, the post-mortem report indicated that the fatal blunt trauma to Nadeem’s head could only have come from falling on the stone platform. 

The judge, while holding the men not guilty added, “When fall is the cause for the trauma, then death in question becomes accidental and not homicidal.” 

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