In a major twist to the Palghar lynching case, the Maharashtra Police’s CID on Wednesday filed two separate charge-sheets in connection with the mob lynching of two Hindu Sadhus and their driver and have ruled out any ‘communal angle’ to the heinous incident.
According to the reports, the CID filed two charge-sheets of around 11,000 pages, naming over 250-plus accused in the mob lynching case to claim that lynchings of Hindu Sadhus were fuelled by rumours of a gang of thieves and not a pre-planned attack. The charge-sheets categorically denied any religious angle behind the attack of the three Hindu men.
Special public prosecutor Satish Maneshinde said that 154 adults and 11 juveniles have been named as accused. He also added that the court had rejected the bail applications filed by some of them.
A group of 25 accused had reportedly sought bail on technical grounds, however, they were denied the bail after public prosecutor submitted to the court that there was evidence against them.
The state CID had questioned 808 suspects, recorded statements of 118 witnesses, gathered cellphone locations of the accused after they obtained videos and photographs of the lynching of Sadhus which was shot on cellphones and CCTV footage from a forest department chowki outside which the lynching occurred.
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 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 to beat them to death in front of the policemen.
Later, it was also reported that the killing of the Sadhus may have been intentional and politically motivated. The involvement of Christian Missionary organisations and some local NCP leaders, and leftists was also suspected.