Rajesh Sondarva — the teenage son of Dalit RTI activist, murdered a year ago — was clubbed to death allegedly by a group of upper-caste Kshatriya men in Rajkot district on May 22 as he had been trying to get the bail of one of those, accused of murdering his father, cancelled and was not ready for a compromise in old cases, CID-Crime has revealed. Meanwhile, a local court in Gondal town sent four of the eight accused in Rajesh’s murder case to judicial custody Monday.
“Rajesh noticed that one of those accused of murdering his father was roaming freely in his village, despite having secured bail on the condition that he would not enter the district. He moved the court and this apparently incensed the accused, leading to Rajesh’s murder,” an officer, who is privy to the investigation, said on the condition of anonymity.
The 19-year-old Dalit was allegedly intercepted by the group of men while he, along with a friend, Milan Parmar, was returning home in Manekvada village in Kotda Sangani taluka from Rajkot city and clubbed to death in the wee hours of May 22.
Rajesh’s father Nanji Sondarva was also allegedly murdered by a group of men from Kshatriya community on March 9, 2018, after he alleged corruption in development projects in Manekvada village and sought details of criminal antecedents of the accused. Police had booked Manekvada-residents Mahendrasinh Bhikhubha Jadeja, Ajaysinh Jadeja, Jitendrasinh Chandubha Jadeja, Jitendrasinh Nirmalsinh Jadeja, Narendrasinh Jadeja and Jagabhai Bharwad for Nanji’s murder and arrested all of them. However, the Gujarat High Court had granted them bail. Mahendrasinh is husband of Beenaba Jadeja, a sitting Congress member of Kotda Sangani taluka panchayat and son of then Manekvada village sarpanch Bhikhubha Jadeja.
The Sondarvas said Jitendrasinh Chandubha was granted bail on the condition that he would not enter Rajkot district. However, he was spotted roaming freely in the village and Gondal town. “Rajesh had been trying to get his bail cancelled,” the officer said, adding bootlegging in the village was also a bone of contention between the Dalit family and the accused. “Majority of the accused have criminal antecedents.”
Police have booked Hardeepsinh Narendrasinh Jadeja, Mahedrasinh and his son Divyarajsinh alias Kumar, Yashpalsinh alias Akrunbha Ajitsinh Jadeja and his brother Deependrasinh, Dhruvrajsinh alias Dhanubha Ajaysinh Jadeja, Ajaysinh and Hardeepsinh Bahadursinh Gohil in Rajesh’s murder case, based on a complaint filed by his younger brother Ajay. While Hardeepsinh, Divyarajsinh, Yashpalsinh and Dhruvrajsinh were arrested on May 27, Mahendrasinh, Ajaysinh, Deependrasinh and Hardeepsinh were arrested on May 29.
Police said that Divyarajsinh is son of Mahendrasinh, while Dhruvrajsinh is son of Ajaysinh.
Mahendrasinh and Ajaysinh are the common accused in the murders of both Nanji and his son.
“Ajaysinh had been externed from Rajkot district, while Hardeepsinh had faced action under Prevention of Anti-Social Activities Act for his involvement in bootlegging,” the officer further said.
Police said the accused had been trying to force the Dalits to strike a truce with them, but did not succeed. “The Dalit family had filed around half-a-dozen other cases of atrocities against the accused. This increased the hostilities, leading to Rajesh’s murder,” said the officer.
CID (Crime) said that Ajay was assaulted by plastic fibre handles of shovels. “We have recovered five such plastic fibre handles of pavdas from the accused. We have also seized eight mobile phones. According to the primary report of the post-mortem, all the accused had hit the the victim on his lower limbs. This seems intentional. But we are waiting for the final post-morterm report to ascertain if the victim had sustained any internal injury also,” the officer added.
As police remand of Hardeepsinh, Divyarajsinh, Yashpalsinh and Dhruvrajsinh ended Monday, the CID (Crime) produced them in a local court in Gondal.