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KALU RATHOD, the father of Dalit youth Pradeep Rathod who was allegedly hacked to death in March, met Bhavnagar Superintendent of Police on Tuesday and demanded that a sharecropper, who has been arrested in connection with the murder, and his wife be subjected to lie detector test as, he said, he suspected more persons could be involved in the crime.
Kalu, his family members and a few Dalit activists met Pravin Mal, the Bhavnagar SP, and submitted a memorandum, demanding that “all the accused” in the case be arrested and subjected to lie detector test of narco analysis. “Narco analysis test be conducted on all suspects as has been approved (by court). Narco analysis test should also be conducted on Munna Thaleisha, the man who has been arrested and his wife,” the memorandum submitted by Kalu, a farmer from Timbi village in Umrala taluka of Bhavnagar, stated.
The victim’s father expressed the suspicion that besides Thaleisha, many other people were involved in the murder of his son and that they all should be arraigned. “The victim did not know the accused who has been arrested. Nor did we have any dispute going on with him. Therefore, we believe some strongmen had hatched a conspiracy and had the victim murdered by the accused (Thaleisha),” the memorandum stated.
Kalu also demanded that the investigation be handed over to CID (crime). His memorandum comes a day after Thaleisha was picked up from his native village of Padana in Dhandhuka taluka of Ahmedabad district and was formally arrested on Sunday. Police say that Thaleisha, who was cultivating a piece of land in Piprali village of Umrala taluka, has confessed to have hacked 21-year-old Pradeep to death as the youth was harassing his wife. Police say that on March 29, Thaleisha noticed the Dalit youth approaching the cottage on the agricultural farm in Piprali village where he was working and stopped him, asking him why he had been harassing his wife for the last two months. An argument ensued and Thaleisha hit Pradeep with a scythe, killing him on the spot. The sharecropper and his family had then fled to their native village. The Bhavnagar SP could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.
Pradeep had gone missing while returning to his home from his farm on the back of his horse in Timbi village on March 29. Hours later, his body was found on a road between Timbi and the nearby Keriya village. In his complaint, Kalu had stated that Natubha Darbar alias Natubha Zala, a resident of Timbi who belongs to Kshatriya community, was behind his son’s murder. Kalu had said that Darbar and two other men from Piprali had threatened him and his son, saying that Dalits can’t own or ride a horse and that they must sell it.
Based on Kalu’s complaint, Umrala police had booked Darbar and the two unidentified men of Kshatriya community of Piprali village for murder and under atrocities act. Police had detained Darbar within hours of the incident. Ghoghubha Gohil and his brother Jitubha Gohil – both residents of Piprali – were also detained as the father named them in his subsequent statement. Later, police had detained four more. After questioning them for many days, the police had subjected the suspects to a semi-lie detector test called suspect detection system at the Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL), Gandhinagar, last month. However, the test results had come negative and police had failed to zero in on the prime suspect of the murder. Therefore, the police moved court and sought the permission to subject the seven to lie detector test.
Piyush Pirojiya, deputy Superintendent of Police of Palitana division in Bhavnagar, who is the investigating officer of the case, had told The Indian Express on Monday that the FSL had given them July 2 as the date of the narco analysis test of the seven suspects.