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Police file charge sheet without statements of crucial witnesses

Ahmednagar honour killing Cops trying to dilute caste atrocity angle,say kin.

Written by SUKANYA SHANTHA | Mumbai |
Updated: April 16, 2014 12:14:01 pm

Ahmednagar honour killing Cops trying to dilute caste atrocity angle,say kin.

The criminal investigation department (CID) has failed to include crucial witness statements in an over 600-page charge sheet filed in an honour-killing case in Ahmednagar.

Mehtar community members Sachin Gharu (22),Sandeep Thanvar (24) and Rahul Khandare (20) were hacked to death in January after it was discovered that Gharu allegedly had an affair with the daughter of a man belonging to a dominant caste.

Father of the girl Popat Dharandale,his brothers Ramesh and Prakash and son Ganesh (19) were arrested for the murder. Sandeep Kurhe,Ashok Navgire and Ashok Phalke were held for aiding and abetting the crime.

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While the charge sheet filed before the Ahmednagar sessions court earlier this month claims “love relationship” and protection of family “honour” were the motives for the murders,it does not attach statement of the girl.

Families of the victims alleged police intentionally excluded crucial witnesses to dilute the “caste atrocity” angle.

“They do no want to show Sachin and daughter of Popat Dharandale were in love. Police have not only excluded statement of the girl,but those who studied with her at Trimurti Shikshan Sankul were also not examined,” claimed Pankaj,elder brother of Sandeep Thanvar.

Pankaj,an Indian Army soldier,has not reported to work since the killings. He will do so only after ensuring a “satisfactory” police investigation.

While CID officers agreed statement of the girl was crucial to the case,investigating officer and additional SP (Nashik) Dhanraj Valunjkar said her statement was dropped at the last minute.

“She did not support the prosecution case and hence it was not mentioned. Her friends,who could have proved a crucial link,also did not support the case,” he said.

However,activists closely following the case claimed excluding testimony of the girl would help defence challenge the motive for the killings.

“Several people in the institute where the girl studied had seen her and Sachin together. Besides his family,not a single witness claims Sachin and the girl were friends,” said Priyadarshi Telang of Pune NGO Manuski,which is providing legal aid to families of the victims.

Police have recorded 86 witnesses,mostly relatives of the victims.

“Place,time,chronology of the incident have been mentioned in the charge sheet,but the motive has not been identified,” Telang said.

Navgire,who belongs to a schedule caste,has been booked under Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act,which is used exclusively against dominant castes.

The victims worked at Trimurti Pawan Pratishthan School and College at Nevasa Phata in Ahmednagar district. Sachin and his mother and Sandeep,his parents,wife and one-year-old son lived in the college staff quarters,while Rahul lived alone in a room at the college hostel.

Families of the victims have fled the village fearing attacks. They are staying with relatives in northern Maharashtra. “We hope the state provides alternative work and helps us resettle,” Pankaj said.

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