The Maharashtra Criminal Investigation Department (CID) arrested 32 more people in Palghar’s Gandhchinchle village on Wednesday in connection with the lynching of two sadhus and their driver in April. This takes the total number of arrests in the case to 186. The police had also detained 11 minors.
A CID officer said the latest arrests were made on the basis of phone locations, which showed the men at the scene of the crime on the night of April 16. The men were produced before the Thane Sessions Court on Thursday and remanded to police custody.
However, as the investigating officer was not present in court, Sessions Judge P P Jadhav posted the bail applications filed by the men to November 3, said advocate Amrut Adhikari, who is representing the arrested villagers.
Adhikari added that the CID had informed the court that it had identified 208 more men suspected to be involved in the lynching.
In the two chargesheets filed in a court in Dahanu in July, the CID had claimed that a mob of 400-500 people had surrounded a Maruti Eeco car in which the sadhus Mahant Kalpavruksha Giri (70) and Sushilgiri Maharaj (35) had attempted to travel to Surat to attend the funeral of a fellow sadhu. However, after being turned back by forest guards at Maharashtra’s border with the Union Territory of Dadar and Nagar Haveli, the villagers suspected that the sadhus and their driver Nilesh Telgade (30) were thieves disguised as holy men. In the weeks before the incident, multiple rumours were being spread in Palghar via WhatsApp of thieves and organ harvesters kidnapping children for the kidneys, being on the prowl.
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