Pehlu Khan bought cows for dairy, says court; cancels smuggling charge
The Rajasthan High Court on Wednesday cancelled the cow smuggling case against Pehlu Khan who was lynched by a mob in 2017. Pehlu Khan and sons Irshad and Arif were transporting cattle from a weekly market in Jaipur to their village in Haryana’s Nuh when a group of alleged cow vigilantes stopped him and thrashed the 55-year-old. Khan died in a hospital two days later.
The high court ruled that the documents clearly show that Pehlu Khan had purchased the cattle for dairy, not slaughter.
Pehlu Khan’s lawyer Kapil Gupta said a single bench of Justice Pankaj Bhandari had ordered quashing of the FIR and the charge sheet filed on cow smuggling charges.
Gupta said the high court judge ruled that the FIR and the chargesheet was “an abuse of process of law”. The three were charged under Rajasthan Bovine Animal Act which relates to transport of cattle for slaughter.
“The court said the cows were milch and the calves were one and two years old so it cannot be presumed that they were being taken for slaughter,” Gupta said.
The Rajasthan Police had chargesheeted Pehlu Khan and his sons when the Vasundhara Raje government was in power. When the Congress came to power, it had filed an application in court saying that it wanted to further investigate this case.
Rajasthan Police registered FIR No. 253/2017 at Behror police station in Alwar against Pehlu Khan, Irshad, 25, Arif, 22, and Khan Mohammad, 55, under the Rajasthan Bovine Animal (Prohibition of Slaughter and Regulation of Temporary Migration or Export) Act, 1995, in April 2017.
On December 30, 2018, Alwar police completed investigation in the case and filed the charge sheet in the court of additional chief judicial magistrate (ACJM), Behror, charging Irshad and Arif with cattle smuggling.
Khan Mohammad, owner of the pickup in which Pehlu Khan and his sons were carrying cattle, had been charged under section 6 of the Act to be the abettor.
The Behror court took cognizance of the charge sheet on May 29 this year. There were red faces in the Ashok Gehlot government after it was reported that the police had charged Pehlu Khan with smuggling.
Pehlu’s lawyer Gupta said the FIR was wrong in the first place. “They bought cattle from a weekly market in Jaipur and got ‘ravanna’ (acknowledgment receipt) from the Jaipur Nagar Nigam (JMC). They were carrying them on a pickup uncovered because they had valid documents,” he said.
However, police charge sheet says Pehlu and his sons didn’t have permit from a sub-divisional magistrate (SDM), designated as the competent authority under the RBA Act, required for transport of cattle to another state.