March 2023 riots: Bombay HC orders to save CCTV footage of Malvani police station premises

Mumbai, Jan 27 (IANS): The Bombay High Court has directed the Mumbai Police to preserve the audio-video CCTV footage of the Malvani Police Station premises vis-a-vis the communal flare-up that rocked the Malvani area during Ram Navami fest on March 30, 2023.

The January 22 order of a division bench comprising Justice Revati Mohite-Dere and Justice Manjusha Deshpande came in a plea filed by a social activist Muhammad Jameel Merchant.

Merchant, who was made an accused in the case, has contended that he was being falsely implicated though he was actually trying to defuse the tensions that night in Malvani, a minority-dominated area in Malad west.

The petitioner said that the Mumbai Police are withholding the CCTV footage as they are aware it would exonerate him as he was innocent.

Merchant further claimed that certain political leaders who were present at the Malvani Police Station had allegedly pressured the police to include his name in the FIR though he was actually helping and cooperating with the police to control the crowd that had gathered outside his building premises.

Advocates Sanjeev Kadam, Prashant Raul and B.V. Bukhari appeared on behalf of Merchant, while the state was represented by Special Public Prosecutor Kaushik Mhatre and Assistant Public Prosecutor R.M. Pethe.

Besides his plea in the high court, Merchant has earlier filed complaints against Guardian Minister of Mumbai Mangal Prabhat Lodha, Joint Commissioner of Police Satyanarayan Choudhary, Additional Commissioner of Police (North Region) Rajeev Jain, Deputy Commissioner of Police Ajay Bansal and the Malvani Police Station, the Maharashtra Lokayukta, and the State Human Rights Commission.

Incidentally, the high court on August 9, 2023 had directed the police to preserve the CCTV recording from the 21 cameras installed in the Malvani Police for nearly 12 hours of the period 10.30 p.m. of March 30-till 10 a.m. of March 31, and had asked the DCP (Zone-XI) to comply with the same.

The court also permitted the petitioner -- who was provided copies of the footage -- to file an independent substantive petition in view of breach of the Supreme Court directions on CCTV video/audio footage.



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Title: March 2023 riots: Bombay HC orders to save CCTV footage of Malvani police station premises

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