August 18, 2019 10:06:54 pm
Days after all the accused in the Pehlu Khan lynching case were acquitted by a court due to “lack of evidence”, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot Sunday said a cell led by the Additional Director General of Police (Crime) would be constituted for monitoring heinous crimes, such as lynchings in the state.
The cell would also include an IGP-rank officer, a DIG and two SPs besides two legal officers, Gehlot told reporters at a press conference here.
“The cell will monitor the case even when it is in court. Investigation of heinous crimes like the lynching of Pehlu Khan will now be done at the state-level as well as the range-level. A law officer will monitor the case after the challan is presented in the court,” news agency PTI quoted Gehlot as saying.
In regard to the alleged lapses in the Pehlu Khan case investigation, Gehlot said action would be taken against guilty officers on the basis of the report of the SIT set up to investigate all aspects of the case.
The decision on constituting a SIT was taken following a high-level meeting chaired by CM Gehlot on Friday evening. It was also decided that an appeal would be made against the verdict, in which the assistance of a senior counsel would be taken.
Ruling out the BJP’s demand for a CBI probe into the Pehlu Khan, the chief minister said the investigation was ruined during their dispensation. “For us, whether it is Hindu, Muslim or any other religion, the law should be the same for everyone,” Gehlot told PTI.
On a demand by the BJP that a law to curb cow smuggling should be brought on the lines of mob lynching, Gehlot said, “They have their government in Delhi. The Prime Minister should respect the feelings of his workers.”
On August 6, the Rajasthan Assembly passed Bills against mob lynching and honour killing, which make them, cognisable, non–bailable and non-compoundable offences with life imprisonment and a fine up to Rs 5 lakh.
In its verdict on Wednesday, the court had given all six accused the benefit of the doubt, but observed that the Rajasthan Police probe had “serious shortcomings”. Khan’s family have blamed “poor” investigation by the police for the acquittal. The court also reached the conclusion that another video cited by the prosecution became suspicious after three crucial witnesses were declared hostile.
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