Child-lifting rumour led to Palghar lynching: minister

NCP leader and Home Minister Anil Deshmukh. File Photo Vivek Bendre  

The Maharashtra Crime Investigation Department’s (CID) charge sheets in the Palghar lynching case have stated that the incident occurred following a rumour about child lifters operating in the area, State Home Minister Anil Deshmukh said on Thursday.

The minister said it was unfortunate that some political parties had tried to give a communal colour to the incident and made efforts to divide people on religious lines over the lynching.

The State CID on Wednesday filed two charge sheets in the case, one running into 4,955 pages and another spanning 5,921 pages, before the Judicial Magistrate First Class court in Dahanu taluka in Palghar district. After examining 808 suspects and 118 witnesses, the CID team has arrested 154 people and detained 11 juveniles in conflict with law in connection with the incident.

On April 16, two religious leaders — Sushil Giri Maharaj (35) and Maharaj Kalpavrikshgiri (70) — and their driver, Nilesh Telgane (35), were lynched by a mob on suspicion of being child lifters while passing through Gadchinchale village in Palghar. They were travelling from Kandivali to attend the last rites of a Hindu spiritual leader, Ramgiri Maharaj, who had died in Surat. They couldn’t travel on the national highway due to lockdown restrictions and reached Gadchinchle village after taking a detour.

The trio was taken into custody by the Palghar police and kept in a police van. A large mob then reportedly stopped their vehicle and dragged the three men out. Armed with sticks and rods, the mob attacked the men and killed them.

Offences were registered in connection with the case at Kasa police station and the Palghar police began an investigation. On April 21, the Maharashtra government transferred the case to the State CID and its Kokan Bhavan unit started a probe into the incident.

The accused have been booked under various provisions of the Indian Penal Code such as Sections 302 (punishment for murder), 307 (attempt to murder), 34 (common intention), 120B (criminal conspiracy), 109 (punishment of abetment if the act abetted is committed in consequence and where no express provision is made for its punishment).

They have also been charged with relevant sections of the Disaster Management Act, the Epidemic Diseases Act, the Maharashtra Police Act, and the Maharashtra Damage to Public Property (Prevention) Act.

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Printable version | Sep 20, 2021 2:54:27 AM |

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