IPS officer Gaurav Singh has been reinstated, six months after being sent on compulsory leave after three men were lynched in Palghar district, where he was the Superintendent of Police.
The Maharashtra government issued transfer orders of 39 police officers late on Wednesday night. Singh was among 25 officers of SP rank awaiting postings. He will now take over as Superintendent at the Maharashtra Police Academy in Nashik.
On the night of April 16, a mob at Gadchinchle village lynched Mahant Kalpavruksha Giri (70) and Sushilgiri Maharaj (35) and their driver Nilesh Telgade (30), who were returning to Mumbai after failing in their attempt to travel to Surat for the funeral of a fellow sadhu.
Policemen who rushed to the aid of the travellers were also attacked by the villagers. Singh rushed to the village from the district police headquarters in Palghar town with over 250 men to help his colleagues. By the next morning, the police had arrested 100 men for their role in the lynching.
As outcry over the lynchings grew, the state government sent Singh on compulsory leave, suspended five policemen and transferred all remaining personnel posted at Kasa police station.
Niket Kaushik, the Inspector General of Police (Konkan Range), was directed to inquire into the police’s conduct in failing to protect the men from the mob. The state Criminal Investigation Department investigated the lynching and an attack on the police by villagers on April 17 and filed two chargesheets in July.
After Kaushik’s inquiry concluded in August, the government dismissed three policemen and handed penalties to 15 others. Singh was cleared of wrongdoing in his handling of the incident.
“All aspects of the incident were inquired into and nothing adverse was found against Singh in the course of the probe,” said a senior police officer.
The state government had also apprised the Supreme Court last week about the action initiated against the errant policemen. The SC is hearing a plea to have the criminal investigation transferred to the Central Bureau of Investigation. The state government’s affidavit did not contain any mention of action taken against Singh.
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