In a major development in the Palghar mob lynching case, Maharashtra CID on Wednesday, filed two chargesheets naming 126 individuals and two juveniles

Written BySuchitra Karthikeyan

Palghar mob lynching

In a major development in the Palghar mob lynching case, Maharashtra CID on Wednesday, filed two chargesheets naming 126 individuals and two juveniles in a Dahanu Court, as per sources. Police have stated the two chargesheets comprising of 5000 pages and 6000 pages respectively are initial charge sheets, adding that the probe will continue. The charge sheet mentions that the lynching was based on rumours and had no religious angle to it. 

25 accused denied bail

Palghar lynchings: CID files 2 charge sheets, says the killing of sadhus fuelled by rumour, not planned crime

The Palghar lynchings were fuelled by rumours of a gang of thieves and child lifters being on the loose and was not a pre-meditated attack, two charge sheets filed by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) on Wednesday at a Dahanu court have revealed.

The charge sheets name 128 people, including two juveniles, for the killing of two seers – Chikne Maharaj Kalpvrikshgiri, 70, and Sushil Giri Maharaj, 35 — and their driver Nilesh Telgade, 30, on April 16 at Palghar’s Gadchinchle village.

The seers, who were on their way to attend a funeral in Surat, Gujarat, had asked the driver to avoid main roads to escape police roadblocks erected to enforce Covid-19 lockdown. The unusual route they were taking, which took them through forested areas, aroused the villagers’ suspicion, who were already edgy because of the rumours of thieves and child lifters targeting locals.

A 500-strong mob attacked the police team that was rushed to the spot to rescue the seers. The victims were stoned to death in a police vehicle which was overturned by the mob.

Additional Director General of Police Atulchandra Kulkarni, who heads the CID, on Wednesday told Mumbai Mirror that the probe is ongoing and supplementary charge sheets will be filed as and when more arrests are made and new evidence collected. The charge sheet has strong forensic and technical evidence — including call data records and messages exchanged online –against the accused, said a police officer who did not wish to be identified.

During the probe, carried entirely under tough lockdown conditions, the CID questioned 800 suspects and recorded the testimonies of over a hundred key witnesses. The two charge sheets run into 11,000 pages.

The case against the two juveniles will be heard at the Juvenile Justice Board.

The lynchings took place in a forested tract, with roads around barricaded with tree logs and stones at that time. As per local police officials, who had reached the spot when the three men were being attacked, the crowd had gathered despite the prohibitory orders that were in place due to the Covid 19 lockdow

What is the Palghar lynching case?

On April 16, three men were lynched to death by a mob of 200 people in Gadchinchle in Maharashtra’s Palghar district, allegedly suspecting the victims to be theives. The deceased men identified as Sushilgiri Maharaj, Chikne Maharaj Kalpavriksha Giri and Nilesh Telwade were reportedly pelted stones at and beaten with sticks and rods. Kasa police have arrested 156 people under multiple sections of IPC, while three police officials have been suspended and 35 police personnel transferred. 

CM Thackeray dismisses communal angle to Palghar attack

While the police were initially probing into the case, the state Home Ministry has transferred the case to the state CID. Moreover, Maharashtra CM and Shiv Sena Supremo Uddhav Thackeray has warned strict action against those giving communal angle to the issue, while Home Minister Anil Deshmukh has stated that all suspects belonged to the same religion of the victims – dismissing a communal angle to the assault. But due to apprehensions in the saint community, a plea has been filed in the Bombay High Court to transfer the case to CBI, while two pleas have been filed in the Supreme Court – one seeking the case to be transferred to NIA and one to the CBI.

courtesy Mumbau Mirror