Mumbai, Apr 1: In a unique case of a father putting justice before kinship, Mohammad Mustaqin Khan ensured that his son was punished for raping an infant.
On Monday, a sessions judge in Mumbai sentenced the 26-year-old Mohammad Moin Khan to ten years' jail, bringing to an end a tormented chapter in the father's life when he had repeatedly to choose between freedom for his son and justice for an 18-month-old child he had seen only once. At every turn he chose justice.
Mustaqin, a real estate agent at Dharavi, was shocked on the morning of January 4, 2006 when he came home and discovered what his son had just done. Moin had carried the victim to their home and that is where Mustaqin found them. Realising that his son had committed a brutal crime, Mustaqin acted promptly and called the police.
But Moin had fled before the police arrived. While some policemen carried the baby, the daughter of a daily wage earner, to hospital for a medical examination, Mustaqin took the rest on a search hunt to the places where his son was a regular. The strategy paid off and Moin was arrested.
Moin was released a few days later on bail but he did not go home. Police declared him an absconder and hoped that he would be apprehended soon, so that he could be tried. Three months later Mustaqin came home from work to find his son in the bathroom taking a shower. Once again Mustaqin did not hesitate to call the police. This time around Moin was sent to Arthur Road Jail, where he was housed as an undertrial.
By the time the case came up before Judge Swapna Joshi, the baby girl and her family could not be traced despite all efforts by the police. The prosecution feared that Moin would get away. But his father was equal to the task once again. In detailed testimony, the older man deposed on what he had seen on the day of the incident.
Public prosecutor Usha Makasare also questioned neighbours who corroborated that they had seen Moin on that day with the victim. Mustaqin's statement, combined with the medical evidence, convinced the judge that Moin was guilty.