MUMBAI: Maharashtra State Women’s Commission (MSWC) on Thursday decided to set up a special investigation team (SIT) to probe the death of Manjula Shetye at the Byculla Prison in Mumbai on June 23, following a complaint by Indrani Mukherjea, the main accused in the Sheena Bora murder case and an inmate, against the jail officials.
Mukherjea in her complaint, which was filed at the Nagpada police station on Thursday, alleged that the prison officials cane-charged the inmates after they resorted to rioting when they learnt that Shetye had died. She also claimed to have sustained injuries in the incident.
Manjula Shetye (45) had died at the government-run J J Hospital on June 26. She was allegedly summoned by a woman jailor and beaten up brutally by six women jail staffers, according to witness statements recorded by police.
Vijaya Rahatkar, chairperson of the commission heading the SIT, said, “A three-member committee that would include a retired judge, a retired police officer and a member of an NGO would be set up to look into the death of Manjula Shetye.”
The team would visit the jail and record statements of all concerned people including Indrani Mukherjea and other inmates who were allegedly beaten up during the riot, Rahatkar said.
The Commission has received a report from the special magistrate that said there were no new and old wounds on Shetye’s dead body including private parts, she added.
Earlier in the day, deputy inspector general (prisons) Swati Sathe appeared before the commission as per the directives given by the commission and submitted her report to the commission.
Sathe, who spent about an hour at the MSCW office, reportedly told the commission that contrary to allegations levelled by the jail inmates, Manjula Shetye had not been subjected to torture.
However, Sathe refused to speak to the media after the hearing. A delegation of MSWC members later visited the Byculla Jail.
Indrani was among nearly 200 inmates of the Byculla Jail booked by Nagpada police for rioting and other offences after they staged a protest over the death of Manjula Shetye.
The prison officials have also accused Indrani Mukherjea of reportedly instigating the inmates by asking them to launch a hunger strike and use their children as “human shields” when the jail staff tried to stop their agitation.
In a related development, the State Human Rights Commission took suo motu cognisance of the matter and ordered police and Byculla jail superintendent to submit a report on the incident in which six jail staffers have already been suspended.
Commenting on the issue, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, on Thursday said that the truth in the case would be brought out in the open very soon.