Court denies bail to woman, son charged with beating teen domestic help to death

Yousuf Katpar
Thursday, Nov 24, 2022

KARACHI: A model court on Wednesday dismissed applications of three suspects seeking post-arrest bail in a case pertaining to the murder of a teenage domestic help.

Samrin Javed, along with her son Farhan Javed, has been arrested and booked for allegedly torturing to death Aftab, aged around 14 to 15 years, over a petty issue at their bungalow on Shaheed-e-Millat Road.

The incident came to light on November 10 when the woman in car left the victim’s body in an ambulance near a private hospital in the Bahadurabad area and disappeared. The mother-son duo was tracked down and arrested with the help of CCTV footage.

Shahzeb Saeed, owner of the house where the car was allegedly hidden from police in a bid to conceal the material evidence, was also taken into custody for being complicit in the cover-up. Additional District and Sessions Judge Haleem Ahmed of the Model Criminal Trial Court (East) announced his order on the bail applications of the three detained suspects after hearing arguments from both sides.

After perusal of the evidence as well as circumstances of the case, he noted, it appeared that there were reasonable grounds to believe that accused Samrin was involved in the commission of murder, and in the criminal transaction, the vehicle of accused Farhan was used and later hidden at the house of accused Shahzeb. “All the accused persons apparently have acted in collusion with each other. None of them has given any sort of information to police regarding commission of offence,” the judge noted.

“More so, the matter is under investigation. The cause of death is still reserved. Reports of forensic science such as DNA and the chemical examiner report are still awaited. The case is at premature stage.”

He said that if the accused were granted bail there existed serious apprehension of their tampering with evidence and interfering in the investigation process, which, he said, seemed very likely keeping in view the peculiar circumstances of the case. The judge, therefore, dismissed the bail pleas, ruling that they were not entitled to such a concession at this premature stage.

In a surprising move, Sumera Rafiq, mother of the victim, her daughter Kinza, an eyewitness to the incident, and husband Akhlaq Ahmed filed their affidavits with the court. The woman stated that she did not want to proceed with the case and would have no objection if the accused were granted bail.

However, the judge, taking exception to the affidavits, opined that the victim’s mother was not competent to withdraw the case and her affidavit carried no weight since the FIR was lodged by the police on behalf of the state and she was neither a complainant of the case nor an eyewitness. He remarked that the three documents purporting to be affidavits were filed in an “unceremonious manner”.

“Firstly, the affidavit of minor was not required to be filed; rather, her statement under Section 164 of the CrPC should have been recorded. Further, neither Sumera Rafiq nor Akhlaq Ahmed appeared before this court to affirm the contents of the affidavit.”

The judge further observed that Sumera contracted second marriage with Akhlaq, who was not the real father of the deceased and Kinza, adding that since the family was very poor and the accused persons were well-off, the question of use of undue influence over the victim’s family could not be ruled out. He noted that the investigating officer had filed an application before the relevant judicial magistrate to record the minor girl’s statement under Section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), but “some unusual circumstances” prevailed upon her and she was not allowed to do so. Therefore, her affidavit had no weight as well.

State prosecutor Muhammad Ashraf Bhatti argued that the victim was brutally beaten to death by all the accused persons. He claimed that the victim’s mother was being forced to stay away from the trial proceedings and that the eyewitness was barred from appearing before the magistrate to record her statement and sent away to Punjab due to the pressure of the accused, who feared that it might be used against them.

He said the accused persons, being influential, were using their influence to prevent police from digging out the truth. The court was pleaded to dismiss their bail pleas. During an inspection of the house, the IO recovered a broken rolling pin allegedly used to beat the deceased, who along with two sisters – Kinza and Ayesha – worked there as domestic worker. Claiming innocence of the accused person, the defence counsel alleged that they were framed in the case in order to gain monetary benefits from them as they were well-off.

Initially, an FIR was registered at the Bahadurabad police station under Section 302 (intentional murder) of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC), but the investigating officer has also added Section 201 (causing disappearance of evidence of offence, or giving false information to screen offender) of the PPC to the case.