Dadri lynching case: police leave out criminal conspiracy angle

Police yet to ascertain whether the meat sample taken from victim Akhlaq's house was that of goat or cow.

Updated - March 24, 2016 05:03 pm IST

Published - December 24, 2015 10:50 pm IST - Dadri:

Policeman outside Mohammad Akhlaq's house in Bishara village in Dadri.—File photo: Prashant Nakwe

Policeman outside Mohammad Akhlaq's house in Bishara village in Dadri.—File photo: Prashant Nakwe

The charge sheet in the Dadri lynching case, which was submitted in the Greater Noida court on Wednesday, has ruled out criminal conspiracy in the murder of Mohammad Akhlaq, despite the National Commission for Minorities (NCM), and Akhlaq’s family repeatedly emphasising the criminal conspiracy angle in the lynching carried out on September 28.

The charge sheet, a copy of which is in the possession of The Hindu, names 15 of the 19 accused, including Vishal Rana, son of the local influential BJP leader Sanjay Rana and Vishal’s cousin Shivam Rana. The 19 accused were identified by Akhlaq’s daughter and one of the main witnesses, Shaista, and son Danish, who was seriously injured in the brutal assault which was allegedly led by Vishal and Shivam.

The accused were booked under Section 323, 304, 506, 307, 427 and 458 of the Indian Penal Code. Section 302 (murder), Section 147 (rioting), 148 (rioting armed with deadly weapons and 149 (unlawful assembly) were added to the FIR later, leaving out the important Section 120 A which could have established criminal conspiracy.

The National Commission for Minorities in its report to the Union Home Ministry in October clearly stated that the attack on Akhlaq’s house and his subsequent killing over beef were “pre-meditated”.

While the police charge sheet describes it a case of rioting and murder, the NCM report said, “It would be quite an understatement to say that the Bisara killing was merely an accident, as has been claimed by some persons in authority”.

Interestingly, the charge sheet quotes Vishal and Shivam blaming some “unidentifiable” people for provoking them to attack Akhlaq. The statement by the two as quoted by the charge sheet, further deflects and neutralises the repeated statements by the main witness about their role in allegedly inciting, collecting people to attack Akhlaq’s house and leading the crowd which lynched Akhlaq.

The move of the police not to include the Sections on criminal conspiracy against the accused, may make it difficult for Akhlaq’s lawyers or the prosecution to prove and establish murder charges against any specific person or persons.

Asked why the police did not investigate the angle of premeditated criminal conspiracy, a senior police official told The Hindu: “The FIR of the case and the case diary prepared by the local police did not mention or even indicate criminal conspiracy by the accused. There is no main accused in the case. In this case no one can be sure of the exact role of the accused.”

Leaving out the angle of criminal conspiracy implies that Vishal and Shivam who allegedly incited and collected the mob over rumours of “cow slaughter” won’t be considered the main accused

The charge sheet says Akhlaq’s killing was a case of rioting and murder.

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