A father has been shuttling between police stations and offices of the senior police officers wanting to know why his son was killed in a police encounter 11 years ago. The encounter in question here is the one which happened in 2007. It was led by encounter specialist late Vijay Salaskar who was killed in the unfortunate 26/11 terror attack in 2008.
FATHER’S SEARCH FOR HIS SON
Irfan Hussain Ilfat Hussain Shaikh lived in Govandi, Maharashtra. He managed a tempo business of his own. His eldest son — Imran Irfan Shaikh — had studied till Class 7 and helped him in the business.
The 56-year-old father remembers the day when his 17-year-old son went missing on December 14, 2007.
“It was Friday. At around 9.30 am after washing the tempo Imran left from home after which I tried reaching him but could not as his phone had been left at home. I expected that he would return but he did not,” the father said.
The father — Irfan — started searching for his son. He got to know that his son was seen with his friend Nasir. The father was quick to go up to Nasir. But, Nasir’s parents informed Irfan that he was not feeling well and was not in a state to talk. Irfan continued towards his work and waited all the while to speak to Nasir soon but to no avail. Irfan grew tired. He failed to find his son. He finally went to Deonar police station for intervention on December 16.
The police asked him to look around for a bit longer and if still there is no news of his son, the police would register a complaint. He again tried Nasir’s doors. His parents requested him to not disturb Nasir.
When no news of his son’s whereabouts disappointed Irfan, he went to the police the next day. A missing person complaint was registered.
THE NEWS OF AN ENCOUNTER
The next day proved to be horrible for Irfan.
One of his friends — Fateh Bahadur Singh — showed him a newspaper. In the newspaper, an encounter in Powai was reported. A man named Ram Bahadur Sahni alias Doctor, resident of Azamgarh, was alleged to have had multiple criminal cases registered against him was killed in an encounter in Powai along with Imran.
When Irfan went to Deonar police station to confirm if the report was true, he found out that the encounter did take place on December 14; the day his son had gone missing. Irfan rushed to the JJ hospital and recognised his son’s body. In the post-mortem certificate, his age was shown as 32 which Irfan vehemently denied.
Irfan says that he was “repeatedly told by the police to not stretch the issue and to sign the forms and collect the body”. He gave in to the pressure and accepted his son’s body for the last rites.
When it was cremation day, Nasir broke a word. During the cremation, Nasir told Irfan what had happened on December 14.
“Nasir was crying and saying that he and Imran had gone to Mahim Dargah and from there they went to Bandra Masjid for namaz. After offering prayers they met Ram Shani alias Doctor over a cup of tea. While having tea at Milan Restaurant, Bandra, Nasir stepped out to smoke a cigarette when he noticed that a group of policemen surrounded Doctor and Imran and took them into custody. Nasir was threatened against saying anything about the incident,” Irfan said.
When Irfan learnt about these developments, he started enquiring. He spoke to the waiters at Milan Restaurant. He visited the site of the incident — Azara Shopping Centre in Powai — and asked people there. One of the watchmen there — Firoz Khan from Kashmir, working at Chandiwala Builders Compound — told Irfan that the killing in fact took place in the compound of Chandiwala Builders which is about 300 metres from the alleged place of the encounter.
Irfan immediately reached that building and found blood stains and also a bullet in the metal-sheeted fence. His friend Salam Khan was also there with Irfan. Salam took pictures of what they had discovered there. Irfan was convinced that this was not a genuine encounter and wanted to register an FIR at Powai police station. He put forth the matter to several authorities but to no avail.
IRFAN SCORES A CRIMINAL RECORD
Powai Police also did not register an FIR. He started getting threatening calls. In one such incident three men drove up to Irfan in a rickshaw and threatened to take him into custody if he continued to make the killing of his son a bigger issue. He registered a complaint with the Chembur Police. Irfan went ahead and knocked on the doors of Bombay High Court.
According to Irfan, he did not have a criminal record. But, as soon as the case came up for hearing in the Bombay High Court, an extortion case of Rs 1 crore was lodged against him in 2008. He was arrested and since he has received no school education, Irfan was completely dependent on his lawyer. His lawyer is a well-known civil rights lawyer in Mumbai.
THE COURT AND IRFAN
The court, in 2014, directed Irfan to approach the Powai police station with a written complaint. The court order said, “If such a complaint is received, the Senior Inspector of Police, in-charge of the said police station may consider the complaint on merit and if it discloses commission of a cognisable offence, take action in accordance with law.”
With this, Irfan’s petition was disposed off by the court. However, his lawyer never went to court for the hearing so did not get to know about it.
Irfan has now written a complaint to the Powai Police. Now, Irfan is planning to file a case against this lawyer as well.
On Thursday (December 6) he was waiting at the office of assistant police commissioner.
Irfan’s complaint letter states that a case of murder should be registered against the other police officers like Sanjeev Dhumal who were involved in the encounter and creating of documents to support it. However, there has been no response from the police.
News credit : Indiatoday