Crime Branch to file chargesheet today

The Mumbai Police Crime Branch is expected to file a chargesheet in the August 11 Azad Maidan violence case today, Crime Branch officials said. The mandatory 90-day period from the date of the first arrest in the case, within which a chargesheet should be filed, ends on Friday.

Lawyers representing the accused said summons have been sent to those were released on bail. "They have been asked to be present before the court on Friday," said advocate Khalid Azmi.

On August 11, two persons died and 63 were injured when a protest at Azad Maidan against alleged atrocities faced by Muslims in Assam and Myanmar turned violent.

The police had arrested 63 persons, of whom five were discharged and 32 granted bail. An accused, a minor, was sent to the Juvenile Justice Board and released on bail.

Police said arrested accused Yusuf Khan, an illegal migrant from Myanmar, had sent out provocative messages that were in circulation around a week before the violence.

The police estimated the loss of property, including two fire brigade vehicles, two outdoor broadcasting vans, 50 BEST buses and 23 police vehicles, to be around Rs 2.12 crore. Police have also decided to initiate proceedings against the organisers of the rally at Azad Maidan under Section 51 (A) of the Bombay Police Act to recover damages to property.

The accused have also been booked for molestation after women police personnel complained that they were manhandled by the rioters. Earlier this month, the nine victims had identified four accused in an identification parade at Taloja jail.

While the police rounded up several people in the case, the organisers have not been named as accused in the FIR. According to the FIR, 17 persons shared the stage during the protest, of whom five spoke at the event. The prosecution had claimed that after a provocative speech, a group of protesters armed with petrol, kerosene, bamboos, swords and unlicenced weapons, attacked police and media personnel. Officers have identified two speeches as "aggressive".

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