A Public Interest Litigation has been moved before the Bombay High Court, seeking a probe into the Palghar lynching case by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) or an HC-monitored Special Investigation Team (SIT).
While the Maharashtra government has ordered a probe by the state Criminal Investigation Department (CID) into the case, the plea filed by Delhi-based lawyer Alakh Alok Srivastava seeks transfer of the same to the CBI.
On the night of April 16, three men, including two sadhus and a driver, were lynched by a mob in Palghar district allegedly on suspicion of them being child-kidnappers and organ harvesters. The three were driving to a funeral in Surat when a group of villagers in Gadchinchle, a tribal village in a remote part of Palghar, stopped their car and attacked them with stones, logs and axes.
So far, 101 people have been arrested and nine minors detained in connection with the crime. The investigation was transferred to the Maharashtra CID on April 20, and two officers suspended and departmental enquiry initiated.
As per the PIL, “The incident of brutal lynching of Sushil Giri Maharaj (35) and Maharaj Kalpavrikshgiri (70), the two sadhus and Nilesh Telgane (35), their driver, has shocked the conscience of a large number of people of India.”
The PIL states that while policemen were present during the incident, they did little to save the victims and there was an allegation that one of the personnel pushed a sadhu towards the mob even while he was begging the personnel to save him.
“It is in the interest of justice that a free and fair investigation is conducted in the instant case under the monitoring of the High Court. There are serious allegations of commission and omission on the part of the local police personnel themselves in the aforesaid brutal crime and thus it is in the interest of justice to get the investigation of the instant case done by any independent agency, other than any agency subservient to the State of Maharashtra,” the plea said.
The PIL further demanded a trial by a fast-track court, and disciplinary action and First Information Report (FIR) against the policemen who allegedly failed to protect the sadhus and their driver. The plea also sought direction to the state government to grant compensation of Rs 1 crore to the bereaved family of the driver.
The PIL is likely to mentioned before the HC on Thursday, April 23, and will be heard as per the date assigned by the court.
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