A special court in Jabalpur on Tuesday sent 64 persons, including a Congress legislator, to judicial custody for 14 days in connection with the case pertaining to arson and demolition of houses of Pardhi tribals at Chauthia in Betul five years ago.
Congress MLA from Multai (Betul) Sukhdev Panse had surrendered before the CBI along with 63 other persons on Monday, since their names figured in the list of 82 accused persons. Special magistrate Surendra Singh Gurjar today sent the 64 accused to 14 days' judicial custody.
All the accused were sent to the Central Jail, Jabalpur. The CBI had charged the accused for rioting, house-trespass and theft apart from offenses under certain sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). The counsels for accused persons, Pramod Thakre and Rajkumar Dubey, said the CBI produced the accused before the court on Tuesday and they were sent to judicial custody till September 23.
While talking to media persons, MLA Sukhdev Panse said the Pardhi tribals were involved in crimes ranging from loot to rape and hence people felt insecure from them. The attack on Pardhi settlement had after the rape and murder of a woman on September 9, 2007. The victim belonged to Kunbi caste.
Subsequently, anger was fuelled among local residents against the Pardhis. Hundreds of villagers led by certain politicians had attacked the Pardhi settlement. Houses were looted and goods set afire. Besides, nearly a dozen women were allegedly gangraped also.
Separate cases were registered much later. The CBI had taken up investigation in this matter after registering an FIR on the high court's directive issued in year 2009 while disposing a petition filed by social activist Anurag Modi.
In March 2012, the CBI filed two chargesheets in the special court pertaining to the incident of September 2007. While one chargesheet relates to crime of arson and demolition of houses of Pardhi tribals, the other one relates to crime of killing of Pardhi tribal couple Bondru and his wife Dodel Bai.
Subsequently, in April 2012, the CBI produced six accused including Gajju, Ramesh Dhakad, Jeevan Dhakre, Doma Lohar, Ram Kishore Wankhede and Koru Narware in connection with killing of tribal couple, while Hiralal Lokhande was produced before the court on a previous occasion.