MUMBAI - A city court Wednesday acquitted Farooq Mapkar, 16 years after he was accused of murder in the sensitive Hari Masjid rioting case.
Mapkar was found innocent after the court said the prosecution has failed to prove its case.
He was accused in the Hari (green) mosque firing case during the January 1993 communal riots that gripped the city in the aftermath of the Dec 6, 1992 demolition of Babri Masjid.
Mapkar, who sustained a bullet injury during the police firing inside the mosque in Wadala suburb, central Mumbai, was later charged for rioting, attempt to murder and murder.
Sessions court Special Judge R.D. Jadhav observed that ‘no case could be made out’ against Mapkar as the prosecution had no evidence to prove its case.
Mapkar’s lawyer Shakeel Ahmed said his client’s was framed. ‘The prosecution had no fresh evidence to offer and the witnesses failed to identify Mapkar,’ he told IANS.
In 1994, the police had registered cases of murder and rioting against 54 people, including Mapkar. A lower court had later acquitted all the accused.
In February 2006, police decided to take up Mapkar’s case separately, Ahmed said.
He argued that if the charges against the rest of the 53 acquitted were similar to that of Mapkar, he also should be acquitted on ground of parity.
Pending the trial, Mapkar filed a public interest litigation in 2007 in the Bombay High Court, demanding an inquiry by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) against police sub-inspector Nikhil Kapse, then posted at the Rafi Ahmed Kidwai Marg police station, and now working in a suburban police station.
It was under Kapse’s orders that the police opened fire inside the mosque Jan 10, 1993. Seven people were killed in the police firing, Ahmed said.
The incident was later termed as ‘unjustified’ by the Justice B.N. Srikrishna Commission Report which inquired into the Mumbai riots.
At the time, the CBI declined to take up the case on grounds that it was already overburdened with other cases.
However, in December 2008, the Bombay High Court directed the CBI to investigate and register an offence in the Hari Masjid police firing case and to submit its investigation report within six months.