The Supreme Court on Thursday issued notice to the Maharashtra government and the Centre on two petitions seeking probes by the CBI and the NIA into the lynching of three people, including two sadhus, by a mob in Gadchinchale village of Maharashtra’s Palghar district on April 16.
A bench headed by Justices Ashok Bhushan, M R Shah and V Ramasubramanian, which heard the matter through video-conferencing, sought their response in two weeks.
The plea for CBI probe was filed by sadhus of Shri Panch Dashban Juna Akhara as well as some relatives of one of the deceased, Maharaj Kalpavriksha Giri, who was the head priest of Dakshinmukhi Hanuman Temple at Tryambakeshwar in Nashik, and Sushil Giri Maharaj, a priest at Kalibari Temple, Mumbai.
The petition stated that the lynching took place “in the presence and possible complicity of the Maharashtra State Police (Respondent No. 2) and the Maharashtra State Government (Respondent No. 1)” and that there is a “reasonable apprehension of bias” if the state police investigate the case.
The petitioners stated, “The totality of the circumstances raises some serious (unanswered) questions about Respondent No. 1 and 2’s ability to independently and impartially investigate and inquire into the incident considering the potential involvement of Respondent No. 1 and 2 in the gruesome lynching that took place on 16.04.2020.”
Last month, the Supreme Court had issued notice on another petition seeking CBI probe in the case.
The fresh plea by the sadhus stated that they had “become aware of some public-interest litigation petitions (PILs) that have been filed before the Hon’ble Bombay High Court and this Hon’ble Court, seeking various reliefs which have otherwise not been authorized by the Petitioners, who are the next of kin of the deceased persons. Therefore, it is imperative that the Petitioners are heard on this matter for a just and proper adjudication of the issues involved.”
The petition for NIA probe was filed by one Ghanshyam Upadyay, who expressed apprehension that evidence may disappear.
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