‘Beef’ in truck row: Prime suspect, one other nabbed, hunt intensifies for others
Three days after a 25-year-old man was beaten up by a group of men on the alleged suspicion of transporting beef in his pick-up truck, the police on Monday arrested two persons, including a prime suspect who was seen raining hammer blows on the victim in a video that had surfaced online. So far, the police have arrested four suspects in this case. Investigators said that at least seven more have been identified and raids are being conducted to arrest them.
Police identified Monday’s arrested suspects as Monu, who owns a dairy in Badshahpur, and Anesh, a resident of Sohna, both of who were nabbed by a team of crime branch officers, sector 10.
Monu was allegedly among the suspects who had cornered the victim, Lukman, near Trunk Market when he was on his way to a meat shop near Jama Masjid. In a three-minute video shot by an eyewitness, a man wearing a blue T-shirt could be seen dragging the victim on the road before kicking him and then beating him with a hammer. In the video, at least two more suspects take turns and assault Lukman with a hammer and sticks before he is bundled into the pick-up truck. A uniformed police official can been seen standing next to the suspects, as he is being assaulted.
Police said Anesh was also among the suspects who had beaten up the victim in Trunk market.
Preet Pal, assistant commissioner of police (ACP), crime, said, “Based on evidence and questioning other suspects, two more men have been arrested, including the one who had beaten the complainant with a hammer. Prima facie, they do not have a criminal record and we are checking if they were involved in any such activities before.”
Police had earlier arrested Mahesh, 30, from Rithoj, and Pardeep Yadav, 28, a Rajiv Nagar resident, in the case. According to a statement by the police, all the four accused men have told the police that they suspected that the complainant was carrying cow meat in his pick-up truck and had tried to stop him. When Lukman did not halt his vehicle, they cornered him and assaulted him.
A police official, requesting anonymity, said, “Another suspect, who had passed on the initial information that the complainant was coming from Nuh has been identified but is still at large. The meat recovered from the truck was sent to a laboratory for testing and the results are still awaited.”
The case was transferred to crime branch after a preliminary enquiry, in which departmental action was taken against four police officials. Three officials were suspended on Sunday for ‘failing to take action on the spot’ while on Saturday, the station house officer (SHO) of Badshahpur police station was transferred to police lines for negligence and failing to control the situation.
The incident took place around 9.30am on Friday, when Lukman, a native of Ghasera village in Nuh, was transporting some meat in his pick-up truck to a shop near Jama Masjid. In the FIR registered at Badshahpur police station on Friday, Lukman has said, “As I reached near a traffic signal in Badshahpur, several men on 4-5 motorcycles started following me. They tried to stop my vehicle but I sped towards the mosque. A few lanes from the mosque, near the Trunk Market, the men cornered me and assaulted me with rods. They broke the window panes of the truck. They later bundled me into my truck and took me to Jail road in Badshahpur, where they assaulted me again, before a police team rescued me.”
On Sunday, Lukman’s father, Hafiz Bilal had said that the suspects had continued to beat his son despite his repeated pleas stating that he was transporting buffalo meat. “He told them that if it was proved that he had beef in his truck, they would be free to hit him. But they continued to beat him with rods and a hammer. He started praying but the suspects forced him to chant ‘Jai Siya Ram’ and then threatened to burn him alive,” he said. Lukman is recovering from injuries sustained on his head, legs and arms at a hospital in Nuh, his family said.
Subhash Boken, spokesperson, city police, said, “There is no mention in the FIR that the victim was forced to chant these slogans. No such link has come out in the investigations so far.”