Multiple lapses, shoddy probe: SIT’s 84-page report on Pehlu Khan lynching
A Special Investigation Team (SIT) set up to look into reasons behind acquittal of six suspects in the 2017 Pehlu Khan case has cited multiple lapses in the police probe and blamed officers for a “shoddy” investigation.
The 84-page SIT report, which HT has seen, was submitted to the Rajasthan director general of police Bhupendra Singh on Wednesday.
Singh confirmed receiving the report, which has recommended “suitable action” after a probe against the erring officials.
“The department will examine all the recommendations,” Singh added.
The SIT was formed on August 17 after six people accused in the lynching of dairy trader Pehlu Khan, 55, on April 1, 2017, were acquitted citing a lack of sufficient evidence.
The SIT pointed loopholes by each of the four investigating officers.
It said the first investigating officer visited the spot where Khan was allegedly assaulted only three days after the crime, failed to call the forensic team and didn’t order mechanical examination of the two vehicles in which Khan was transporting the cows. In all, the officer committed 29 mistakes, the report added.
The SIT said the second investigating officer overlooked the “shoddy” investigation and failed to “supervise” the investigation properly.
The third investigating officer went to the crime spot but did not record the statements of the eyewitnesses, the SIT said. “He made no effort to correct mistakes in investigation by previous IOs [investigating officers],” the report added.
The fourth investigating officer cleared six people named by Khan in his dying declaration without “any new or solid evidence”, the SIT added.
None of the four officers responded to calls or text messages sent by HT.
The SIT said the first charge sheet in the case was filed on June 3, 2017 against the legal opinion of assistant director (prosecution) Vijay Singh, who had allegedly pointed out holes in the investigation.
The SIT report said the six accused --- Vipin Yadav, Ravindra Yadav, Kalu Ram Yadav, Dayanand Yadav, Yogesh Khati, and Bhim Rathi--- should also have been charged with sections 395 (dacoity), 147 (rioting) and 148 (rioting, armed with deadly weapon), in addition to murder, voluntarily causing hurt, wrongful restraint and damage to property. These are the six men who were let off by the court on August 14.
The SIT was formed on August 17, three days after the Alwar additional district judge Sarita Swami acquitted the six accused and gave them the “benefit of the doubt”.
The SIT was also tasked with identifying important evidence that was either not gathered during investigation or not presented properly during the trial. The team comprised (designations please) Nitin Deep Blaggan, Samir Kumar Singh and Sameer Kumar and worked under the supervision of ADG (Crime) BL Soni.
On April 1, 2017, Khan was attacked by a mob on the Delhi-Jaipur highway near Behror in Rajasthan’s Alwar district while he was transporting cattle from a market in Jaipur to his home in Nuh, Haryana. He named six people as his attackers in his dying declaration, but all of them were cleared by police on the basis of call records and witnesses.
Police then charged a new set of nine people – three of them minors – on the basis of videos of the attack. The six adults were cleared by court but the government has said it will appeal the verdict in high court. The three minors have a separate proceeding against them in the juvenile court.