A local who was questioned by the CID in connection with the April 16 Palghar mob lynching of two Hindu sadhus and their driver allegedly committed suicide, officials said on Monday.
The body of Vinsu Dharma Dhangada, a 32-year-old farmer, was found on Saturday, suspended by a nylon rope on a tree in Divshi-Chinchpada village under the jurisdiction of Kasa Police Station. He was one among the hundreds of villagers grilled by the police and later by the Crime Investigation Department in connection with the horrifying lynching of two Hindu sadhus in Palghar on the intervening night of April 16-17 that triggered a nationwide outrage.
Dhangada was one among many people questioned by the police in their alleged role in the killing of sadhus. Since no suicide note has been received from Dhangada, the police are investigating the matter to determine the reason for Dhangada to take such an extreme step.
As of now, police have impounded the rope, filed a complaint of accidental death report and is waiting for the postmortem report before questioning his family members.
The Pune-headquartered CID had taken over the case into the lynching of two Hindu sadhus from the Kasa police station following a political furore.
A mob of 400-500 frenzied people had waylaid the two sadhus on April 16-17 and lynched them to death suspecting them to be kidnappers. Till date, more than 130 people have been arrested in the case, including political activists.
Till date, more than 150 persons have been arrested, including several political activists. Deshmukh later shunted out the Superintendent of Police, while police personnel from Kasa transferred to other police stations within the district.
Palghar Mob Lynching incident
On 16th April 2020, two Sadhus associated with the Juna Akhara, 70-year-old Kalpavrishka Giri Maharaj, and 35-year-old Sushil Giri Maharaj along with their driver 30-year-old Nilesh Telgadewere were on their way from Mumbai to Gujarat to give Samadhi to another Sadhu. At Gadakchinchale village, a wild and frenzied crowd of over more than 100 people attacked them. The villagers allegedly deemed them as thieves and started attacking them. The police claim that their team which had rushed to the spot to rescue the 70-year-old man also came under the attack of the violent mob.
But later videos emerged which completely debunked the claim of police, as it was seen that the sadhus were in the custody of the police, but the police personnel handed them over to the mob. The mob then proceeded them to beat them to death in front of the policemen.
Investigation in incident
In the FIR, the assistant police inspector Anand Rao Kale, who led the initial response team of the police at the spot claimed that the police were heavily outnumbered as there were about 400 to 500 frenzied people who were baying for the blood of the three individuals. The report mentions that the police team which had reached the location to rescue the victims were also attacked by the mob.
When they tried to rescue the victims by putting them in the police vehicle, the mob vandalised the police vehicle and kept attacking the three men with stones. Kale identified five men from the mob of 400-500 and included them in the FIR. They are- Jairam Bhavar (25), Mahesh Sitaram Ravte (19), Ganesh Devji Rao (31), Ramdas Rupji Asare (27) and Sunil Somji Ravte (25).
Offences under IPC sections 302 (murder), 120(B), 427, 147, 148 and 149 have been registered against the five accused along with the mob of 400-500 people. IPC Section 188 has also been invoked in the case due to the coronavirus-enforced lockdown under which sweeping curbs have been imposed on movement and assembly of people, the report said.