In a fresh twist in the murder probe of a Dalit youth at Timbi village in Bhavnagar district, Director General of Police Shivanand Jha has handed over the investigation to the CID-Crime after the father of the victim submitted a memorandum, saying he doesn’t have confidence in the ongoing probe conducted by Bhavnagar police.
Pradeep Rathod, 21, was hacked to death while he was returning home from his farm on a horse on March 29. His father, Kalu Rathod, had alleged that Pradeep was killed by upper-caste men as they were against a Dalit owning and riding a horse. In his complaint to the police, he had named one Natubha Darbhar of Timbi village and subsequently named two others — Ghoghubha Gohil and his brother Hitubha Gohil, both residents of nearby Piprali village, who had allegedly threatened his son and warned of dire consequences if he did not sell off the horse.
Initially, Bhavnagar police had detained the three accused and later four more persons, but no one was arrested. Police said that all the seven even cleared the suspect detection system test. However, on May 13, police arrested one Munna Thaleisha, a Koli share-cropper, from Padana village in Dhandhuka taluka of Ahmedabad district, claiming that he had hacked Pradeep to death as the Dalit youth was harassing his wife. Police had also claimed that Thaleisha, who worked in a farm at neighbouring Piprali village, had even confessed to murdering Pradeep in a fit of rage.
But the victim’s family rejected the police findings, claiming that neither Pradeep nor anybody else of his family knew Thaleisha’s family. Terming the investigation by Bhavnagar police, a ploy to divert investigation from the real cause of murder, Kalu Rathod had said that the upper-caste men, who belong to the Kshatriya community, had made Thaleisha a scapegoat as the share-cropper was poor.
On May 29, Kalu Rathod met the DGP in Gandhinagar along with few Dalit activists and submitted a memorandum to him. “Two months since the case was registered, police have not arrested the real perpetrators of the crime and have been unable to conduct a proper investigation in the case. Dalits of Gujarat are demanding the arrest of the real culprits who are behind this murder. We therefore, demand that the investigation of the case should be immediately handed over to CID-Crime and the real accused be arrested,” Rathod stated in the memorandum.
Soon after Rathod’s representation, the DGP issued an order transferring the probe into the case to CID-Crime.
Though the DGP could not be contacted on why he transferred the probe, Bhavnagar Superintendent of Police Pravin Mal confirmed the development to The Indian Express on Wednesday. “We have received an order from the DGP transferring the investigation of the Timbi murder case to the CID-Crime last week. However, the CID-Crime is yet to take over the probe formally,” Mal said.