Palghar mob lynching case: Maharashtra CID files third charge sheet
The Maharashtra Criminal Investigation Department (CID) on Friday filed a third charge sheet as part of its probe into the mob lynching from April 2020 in which three were killed. The state CID also submitted a charge sheet against two minor accused before the Juvenile Justice Board in Bhiwandi.
On April 16, Chikne Maharaj Kalpavrukshagiri, 70, Sushilgiri Maharaj, 35, and Nilesh Telgade, 30, were killed when a mob of locals attacked them at Gadhchinchale, approximately 140 kilometres from Mumbai. The trio were on their way to Surat and Telgade had been driving the car. Five police personnel were also injured in the attack. According to CID, the lynching was caused by rumours that were circulated using Whatsapp, which warned against a group of organ and child traffickers passing through the area. The gathered mob had mistaken the two travellers and their driver to be the traffickers.
In July, CID filed two charge sheets in the case and 226 witnesses have been examined as part of the investigation. So far, 154 people and 11 juveniles have been arrested. On Friday, the state CID charged two juveniles who are directly involved in the lynching, according to the police. Additional director general, CID, Atulchandra Kulkarni said, “Though there are 11 juveniles involved in the case, we have filed against only two of them. Another chargesheet will be filed against the remaining nine after collecting all evidences.”
The charges against the accused include murder, attempted murder, rioting, and violations of the Disaster Management Act, the Epidemic Diseases Act, and other relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code.
The third charge sheet, filed before a Dahanu court on Friday, is related to an incident of a police officer opening fire on April 17, the first information report (FIR) for which was filed in Kasa police station, in Palghar. This charge sheet charges 47 people with obstructing the police, rioting and attempted murder. “When the police had gone to arrest them [in connection with the lynching case], they [the accused] had pelted stones and used catapults against the police. A firing was ordered by by deputy superintendent of police, Jawhar, Bhagwat Sonawane,” said Amrut Adhikari, who is the counsel for some of the accused. The 47 accused were later arrested on May 13.
Of those currently in judicial custody, 28 have applied for bail on the grounds that CID has not collected any evidence against them. Adhikari said, “CID is still collecting evidence against the 28 accused even though they have been arrested. We have the right to apply for bail as it is a case of illegal detention.” The bail plea will be heard on Monday.
Meanwhile, the state is preparing a report on the action taken against police personnel from Kasa police station following the mob lynching. Over 35 police constables and other personnel were transferred the then Palghar district police chief, Gaurav Singh, was sent on compulsory leave. On Thursday, the Supreme Court asked the state to submit a report on the actions taken against the errant police personnel. The bench of justices Ashok Bhushan and R Subhash Reddy will also examine the charge sheets that have been filed.