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In an unprecedented ruling, the Bombay High Court Tuesday awarded Rs.20 lakh compensation to the mother of Khwaja Yunus, an accused in a bomb blast in 2002 in Maharashtra who died in police custody, a lawyer said.

On Jan 3, 2003, Yunus, an engineer working in Dubai, had been picked up in connection with the Dec 6, 2002 bomb blast in an empty bus parked outside a railway station at the Mumbai suburb of Ghatkopar.

A division bench of Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice P.D. Kode directed the state government to pay the compensation to Yunus’s mother Aasiya Begum, her lawyer Mihir Desai said.

“This is one of the highest compensations awarded in a case related to custody death. Aasiya Begum feels justice has been done to her 10 years after she lost her son,” Desai told.

The blast on the 10th anniversary of the demolition of the Babri Mosque in Ayodhya, killed two and injured 28.

The court directed the government to pay the compensation to Aasiya Begum within two months and recover money from the salaries of the guilty police officers.

The court rejected Aasiya Begum’s plea to prosecute 10 more officials involved in the case.

The judges ruled that the trial in the case was still underway and if new material was placed before the court, then the trial court could initiate proceedings against the other accused.

Desai informed the court that the state criminal investigation department (CID), during its investigations, named 14 police officials in the case in its affidavit filed before the court in October 2006.

The government later sanctioned prosecution of only four officers, who were allegedly taking Yunus from Mumbai to Aurangabad for investigations.

Although Yunus’ body was never recovered by the investigators, the CID said that after its investigation that he had died in custody.



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