The Vadodara sessions court on Tuesday rejected an application for temporary bail filed by former Fatehgunj police inspector DB Gohil, who is currently in judicial custody for the December 2019 alleged custodial death of Telangana migrant Shaikh Babu Nisar.

Gohil had sought temporary bail for seven days “to appear before the Juvenile Justice Board (JJB) at Jamnagar” on July 4 as a witness in a case.

His advocate MA Khan argued that if Gohil is summoned by the court (JJB) through jail authorities, it would “take much time to follow the technical process” and a police escort has to be provided by the state at its cost, compared to letting him out “on temporary bail to attend the court”.

Khan also contended that the “technicalities” of processing Gohil’s appearance could “cause delay in trial that can be kept in abeyance”. He argued that Gohil had been in jail “since long and there is nothing adverse on record against him, which can prejudice the prosecution’s case”. The court was also told that Gohil, who has been in jail for 45 months, had previously been granted temporary bail to appear before different courts.

Special Public Prosecutor SI Ghariya objected to Gohil’s plea, saying that he could appear as a witness before the JJB at Jamnagar through videoconferencing.

Festive offer

Ghariya added that Gohil “deliberately wants to remain out of the jail under one or another pretext”, and that till date, he has been granted temporary bail a number of times, and has thus “remained out of jail for a sizable period of time”. ”.

Considering Ghariya’s arguments, the court said, “It is pertinent to observe that in this digital era, advancement in science and technology has now made it possible to record evidence by way of videoconferencing at the place where the court is or where the witness is. The Supreme Court, time and again, has emphasized on recording of evidence by videoconferencing in order to save time, money and manpower. This court believes that if at all the applicant has to appear before the Juvenile Justice Board at Jamnagar for adducing his oral evidence as a witness, the same can be done through videoconferencing, by providing him scanned copies of required documents like case diary and other relevant documents in advance, and for that, personal attendance of the applicant is not needed.”

The lawyer of Shaikh Babu Nisar’s family in Vadodara, Shahid Gajiawala, told The Indian Express that since Gohil’s arrest in 2020, he has moved 27 bail applications. According to jail records, he has been granted bail on 16 occasions, for a total of 122 days, Gajiawala added.

Nisar had allegedly gone missing on December 10, 2019, after he was apprehended from Fulwadi by the Fatehgunj police on suspicion of theft.

The first FIR lodged by the Vadodara Police in July 2020 relied heavily on the statement of assistant head constable Shaktisinh, who had said that he saw Nisar tied to a chair with a belt and rope in the computer room of the police station to “restrict his movement” while the six accused tortured him to extract a confession.

Shaktisinh had alleged that he saw the accused inserting a pen between Nisar’s fingers until he bled and “his voice faded away” and he “did not appear that he could be alive”, the FIR had stated.

In August 2020, the HC directed the case to be transferred to state CID (Crime), while hearing the Habeas Corpus petition filed by Nisar’s son Salim.

On November 25, 2020, the CID filed a 900-page primary chargesheet in the Vadodara court against the six arrested policemen – Gohil, sub-inspector DM Rabari and Lok Rakshak Dal jawans Pankaj Mavjibhai, Yogendra Jilansinh, Rajiv Savjibhai and Hitesh Shambubhai.

Sub-inspector Dilipsinh Rathod and assistant head constable Mahesh Rathwa, who were then attached to Fatehgunj police station, were booked in the case. The next hearing in the case is slated for July 6, when Shaktisinh is expected to depose before the trial court in Vadodara.