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SC nods to CBI probe in the Palghar Sadhus lynching case

The case dates back to 16th April 2020, when two Sadhus of Juna Akhara, Chikne Maharaj Kalpavrukshagiri (70), and Sushilgiri Maharaj (35) were lynched along with their 30-year-old driver by a mob.

On 29th March 2023, the Supreme Court nodded to allow a CBI probe in the Palghar Sadhus lynching case of 2020. The SC was earlier apprised on 20th March 2023 that the government of Maharashtra has already shown its readiness for CBI inquiry in the matter in which three people including two Sadhus were lynched by a mob in Palghar in Maharashtra on 16th April 2020.

In response to this, the apex court had said that it will list the plea seeking the CBI probe in this case. The supreme court has fixed April 14 as the next date of hearing this matter.

A bench comprising the Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud and justices P S Narasimha and J B Pardiwala asked the counsel for the Maharashtra government during the hearing on Wednesday, March 29, “Why should we pass the order that you (Maharashtra) give it to CBI?” The court made this remark when the counsel apprised the court that the state has no objection to the submissions of the petitioners that the case be probed by the central probe agency.

In an affidavit dated October 11, 2022, the Maharashtra government stated that it would not object if the CBI were handed the probe and that it is ready and willing to do so. The affidavit was submitted in response to several petitions, including one from Shri Panch Dashban Juna Akhara seers and the deceased’s family. Their appeal claimed that the investigation by the state police was biassed. Advocates Shashank Shekhar Jha and Ghanshyam Upadhyay submitted the other petitions.

Notably, this change in the stance of the Maharashtra government came about after chief minister Eknath Shinde and deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis came together to form a coalition government of Shiv Sena (Eknath Shinde faction) and the Bharatiya Janata Party. The Maha Vikas Aghadi government led by Uddhav Thackeray had denied the CBI probe in this case.

The case dates back to 16th April 2020, when two Sadhus of Juna Akhara, Chikne Maharaj Kalpavrukshagiri (70), and Sushilgiri Maharaj (35) were lynched along with their 30-year-old driver by a mob. The incident took place at Gadchinchale village in Palghar district, Maharashtra. They were on their way to Surat, Gujarat. The police were present at the scene, but they did not try to stop the mob or did anything to save the sadhus.

The police had initially claimed 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. However, later videos emerged that completely debunked the claim of the police. Contrary to the claims, the police personnel was seen handing over the Sadhus to the frenzied mob, which went on to beat them to death in front of the policemen.

Several reports that emerged in the wake of the bloodcurdling lynching hinted that the brutal murder of the Hindu sadhus may not have been an act of spontaneity but a part of a broader conspiracy designed to eliminate the Hindu priests. An FIR into the case revealed an ultra-left connection to the lynching as it mentioned that a CPI(M) gram panchayat member had allegedly gathered a mob armed with rods and stones to kill the sadhus.

Reports also emerged 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 were also suspected.

Uddhav Thackeray Govt had opposed the transfer of the Palghar lynching case to CBI

Notably, five months after the incident, the then Maha Vikas Aghadi government led by Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray had submitted an affidavit in the apex court wherein it had opposed the transfer of the Palghar lynching case to the CBI. The affidavit was submitted days after the Supreme Court sought a response from the then Uddhav Thackeray government on the petitions seeking a CBI and NIA probe into the case of the brutal lynching of Hindu Sadhus in Palghar.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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