Video hearing for convict with AIDS, TB

The Bombay High Court on Tuesday ordered the home department to provide a courtroom for videoconferencing so that it could hear the confirmation case (death row) of an inmate having AIDS and tuberculosis.

On death row: Niharulla Shaikh. Illustration/Amit Bandre

In March 2011, two convicts were sentenced to death for kidnap and murder of a three-year-old from Vashi. The duo was found guilty of clubbing Nitesh Wadhwa to death with a rock.  

On Monday, one of the convicts Niharulla Shaikh alias Nihal Shaikh (31) wrote to the division bench of Justices V M Kanade and P D Kode, complaining that he was not produced in the court for the hearing of his confirmation case.

Shaikh was produced in the court the next day. In Tuesday’s order, the court observed, “The doctor from Arthur Road jail… has given an opinion that it will be advisable for Shaikh to be kept in jail on account of his illness.

In view of the opinion given by the doctor, in our view it will be appropriate if the learned APP writes to the Home Department and make necessary arrangement for Video Conference Facility to be installed in Court Room no. 53 where hearing of the Confirmation Case is going on.” The videoconferencing link will be set between the courtroom and the jail by October 29.

After Shaikh was brought to Arthur Road Jail from Yerwada Central Prison for his hearings in the court in September, the bench ordered jail superintendent to provide him with medication. Shaikh had stopped receiving treatment for tuberculosis after he was shifted to the city.

Since 2011, the case had been adjourned repeatedly due to other older confirmation cases which were pending before the high court. With the Pune BPO employee confirmation case coming to a close, Shaikh’s case was finally heard. 

The case
Shaikh along with Rafiq Sayyed (29) and Naseem Ansari (21) kidnapped and murdered Nitesh in 2004. While the Thane District and Sessions Court sentenced Shaikh and Sayyed to death on March 29, 2011, Ansari was tried in a juvenile court, as he was 14 at the time of crime. Additional Sessions Judge D N Bhargande observed that crime fell in the ‘rarest of rare’ cases, inviting death penalty.

They lured Nitesh with chocolates for over a week before kidnapping him on April 26, 2004 and took him to a chawl in Turbhe. Investigations revealed that killers negotiated ransom money with Nitesh’s father Prakash for about 25 days, despite killing him after just five days of his abduction. They disposed the body near Pawna creek in Vashi. The police arrested the trio, who hailed from UP, on May 23, 2004.  

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