On 19 December, the Bombay High Court directed the special CBI Court to charge the eight police officials from Wadala Railway Police in the murder of Agnelo Valdaris, who died in police custody.
On 15 April 2014, a 25-year old Agnelo Valdaris along with three others was picked by the police on the charges of stealing gold ornaments. While in custody, the police officials stripped, tortured, mentally harassed and even forced them to perform “unnatural sex” with each other, claimed Agnelo’s father.
Five days after Agnelo was picked up by the police, he was found dead on the railway tracks while the other three were released on bail on 22 April. The police claimed that he was run over by a train while trying to escape.
The Divisional Bench of Justice BP Dharmadhikari and Justice SS Jhadav, passed an order to the trial court to book the 8 policemen under Section 302, Section 201 and Section 295A of the Indian Penal Code and also sections of the POCSO Act.
“Custodial death cases have been on the rise in the country. Custodial violence may be physical, emotional or mental. It leaves a permanent impact on the victims and their families. The police’s action was riddled with a mystery right from inception. Torture, when committed under the shield of uniform and authority within the four walls of a prison, police station or lock-up, makes the victim helpless,” stated the bench.