Mumbai: The Maharashtra government on Tuesday decided to set up a secretary-level committee to question Swati Sathe, DIG Prisons, in the custodial death of convict Manjula Shetye in Byculla jail.
Sathe, who was conducting a departmental inquiry into Shetye’s death, allegedly at the hands of Byculla jail staff, had sent messages seeking support for the six arrested prison staff from their colleagues on a WhatsApp group, and had also expressed solidarity with the accused. After a controversy erupted over the messages, the departmental inquiry was entrusted to another officer.
On Tuesday, Ranjit Patil, the state minister for home said that a state secretary-level official will conduct an inquiry into Sathe’s role in the matter.
“We will investigate the role of DIG Sathe as per the cyber law. If she is responsible and guilty, then she will be suspended. We will not spare anyone in this case. We have also suspended Tanaji Gharbudave, the acting superintendent of Byculla,” Patil said in the state legislative council.
Opposition leader Dhananjay Munde had visited the Byculla prison on Tuesday morning to take a stock of the prison condition. “Our prisons are pathetic. In the presence of prison officers, no inmate wanted to speak to us. It was only when officers left that the prisoners interacted. Whoever is responsible for Shetye’s death should not be protected,” Munde said.
Many Opposition members demanded that Sathe be suspended. However, the minister maintained that the government will take a decision only after the inquiry.