Catholic Bravehearts Murders – A year on, No Justice Yet

October 22, 2012 by  
Filed under newsletter-india

Reuben Fernandez and Keenan Santos

Reuben Fernandez and Keenan Santos

Mumbai, October 18, 2012: A year after the Amboli double murder tragedy, charges are yet to be framed in the case. A Sewri fast-track court on Wednesday adjourned the matter once again after the accused were not brought to court from Taloja jail. The matter will now be heard on October 22, two days after the first anniversary of the incident. During the previous hearing, the court rejected the bail application filed by accused Jitendra Rana.

On Wednesday, special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam also made an oral request to the court seeking the transfer of the five accused to Arthur Road jail. The court will decide on the request on Monday. The prosecution has already presented draft charges in the case and both sides have argued over them. When questioned about the delay in framing of charges, Nikam said, “Judges have been transferred on two occasions in the case. Sometimes, the accused are not brought to court.” The trial in the case will commence only after charges are framed against the accused.

Keenan Santos (24) and Reuben Fernandez (29) were stabbed after a scuffle near a paan shop in Amboli, Andheri (W), on October 20 last year. The duo was standing at the spot with some women friends when a group of men allegedly started harassing the women. Keenan and Reuben were attacked after they protested against the harassment. While Keenan died soon after the incident, Reuben died on October 30 in a hospital in Andheri. Keenan worked as a bartender in a five-star hotel.

Reuben’s brother Benjamin Fernandez ensures that he is present during most court hearings. Referring to the delay, he said, “It’s ironic that the matter was assigned to a fast-track court but has moved at a pace slower than a regular court. My parents have been disappointed with the pace of things. However, things have started moving since the arrival of the new judge, so we are hopeful.” Benjamin said that though his family has been holding on well over the last year, the impending anniversary has brought on mixed emotions. Reuben’s family will offer a mass at St Blaise Church, Amboli, to observe his first death anniversary.

Rana, Sunil Bodh, Satish Dulhaj and Dipak Tival were arrested in connection with the case soon after the incident. While filing his bail application, Rana said that the investigation is over and the chargesheet has been filed. He also added that the injury sustained by him during the incident remains unexplained.

In January, the police had filed a 416-page chargesheet before the Andheri metropolitan magistrate’s court. Cops have recorded the statements of 21 witnesses, key among which are Keenan’s girlfriend and other members of his friends’ circle.The four accused have been booked for murder, criminal conspiracy, using words, gestures or committing any act intended to insult the modesty of a woman, intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of peace, and under some sections of the Bombay Police Act.

– times of india

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