Did Siddiqui's killers crank up radio volume to hoodwink guard?
While questions are being raised over why the killing of terror suspect Qateel Mohammad Zakir Siddiqui in Aanda Cell was reported to the authorities after one hour, sources inside Yerawada Central Jail claim that the duo accused of the murder had raised the volume on the radio to hoodwink jail guard Ramesh Gaikwad.
Sharad Mohol and Alok Bhalerao, who are accused of strangling Siddiqui to death on June 8, were produced before the court of First Class Magistrate, S S Patil yesterday afternoon. The hearing was conducted amidst tight security behind closed doors and media persons were not allowed inside. The suspects were remanded to police custody till June 25.
While arguing for police custody, public prosecutor M G Poul told the court that the incident took place at 9.45 am on June 8 and the jail administration came to know about the incident at 11 am when another inmate, Akbar Shaikh, informed Superintendent of Police S V Khatavkar that Mohol and Bhalerao had strangled Qateel to death inside his cell.
“After coming to know about the incident, Khatavkar and the medical officer of the jail rushed to the Anda Cell where Qateel was lodged and saw him lying on the floor. There were strangulation marks on his throat. The medical officer checked and declared him dead on the spot,” Paul told the court.
While reasoning why the matter came to light late the jail guard posted inside the Yerawada Central Jail told MiD DAY that the accused had purposely increased the volume of Radio before entering Quateel’s cell. He said, “Taking advantage of the fact that Constable Shantaram Shirkar was away escorting four inmates for Mulakhat and Gaikwad was only present inside the Aanda Cell, the accused allegedly increased the volume of Radio so that guard remain clueless about what was going inside the Cell.”
The remand report by the Yerawada police, stated that after the incident, the SP Khatavkar interrogated Mohol and Bhalerao and they confessed that they had gone to the cell of Qateel on 9.45 am and strangled him to death by using the short string.
Poul while arguing for the police custody told the court that police need to recover the short string from the suspects and also need to investigate whether other inmates were involved in the act.
“Police also need to investigate that since Qateel had lodged in the anda cell, who had come to meet Mohol and Bhalerao and was there any money transaction took place between them and in these days, was there any incident or altercation between Qateel and two suspects taken place which led to the murder of terror suspect,” Poul told the court.
Poul also told the court that police will need to investigate whether outside gangs are involved in the murder and Mohol and Bhalerao were given ‘supari’ to kill Qateel by these gangs.
Defence lawyer, D M Pawar however questioned that if the murder took place at 9.45 am, why the jail administration was informed about the incident at 11 am. He also told the court that there is not a person, who had witnessed the incident and Mohol and Bhalerao were arrested on the ‘hear say’.
He also said that there is no need for the police custody as the Qateel’s cell where the incident took place has been sealed and there is no need to take the suspects to the place to recover the string. The CID is investigating the murder.