The Mumbai Police’s Crime Branch on Saturday arrested six officials from the Byculla women’s jail for their alleged involvement in the custodial killing of an inmate, Manjula Shetye, on June 23, The Indian Express reported. The accused were arrested just as they were about to talk to an advocate about anticipatory bail pleas.
Jailor Manisha Pokharkar and five other guards – Bindu Naikode, Waseema Shaikh, Sheetal Shegaokar, Surekha Gudve and Aarti Shingane – had been suspended by the Prisons Department after Shetye’s death came to light and a riot broke out in the jail on June 24.
“We decided to arrest them based on our investigations and the postmortem examination report,” a senior IPS officer told Hindustan Times.
On June 23, 38-year-old Shetye had argued with the guards about two eggs and five slices of bread that were missing from the morning ration. Shetye, who was supposed to perform the duties of a warden in the jail, had also got into spats with other inmates who accused her of “being bossy”. On the day of her death, an inmate had complained about her to the jailor named Pokharkar. An angry Pokharkar then asked her constables to bring Shetye to her cabin, where they sexually assaulted her and beat her to death, the official said. Her death sparked a violent protest by other inmates.
Meanwhile, one of the constables, Naikode, in her statement to the police, alleged that former media executive Indrani Mukerjea – in jail accused of killing her daughter Sheena Bora – “conspired” against her and the other jail officials. Mukerjea was among the 200 women inmates booked for inciting a prison riot.