A charge-sheet filed by the Rajasthan Police in a cow smuggling case against dairy farmer Pehlu Khan, who was allegedly lynched by a mob of cow vigilantes in the Alwar district in 2017, created a controversy in Jaipur on June 29. Though the prosecution’s papers mentioned Pehlu Khan, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot claimed that they did not include him as an accused.
The charge-sheet, filed in the court of the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate in Alwar district’s Behror town on May 24, named Pehlu Khan’s two sons, Irshad and Aarif, and the owner of the pick-up truck Khan Mohammed, as the accused against whom the offence of illegally transporting cows out of the State had been proved.
The police informed the court that though the offence under Sections 5, 8 and 9 of the Rajasthan Bovine Animal (Prohibition of Slaughter and Regulation of Temporary Migration or Export) Act, 1995, had been proved against Pehlu Khan as well, he had died on April 3, 2017, during his treatment at a private hospital in Behror.
In a damage control move, Mr. Gehlot said the investigation was carried out by the previous Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) regime and his government would re-investigate the case if any discrepancies were found. “Our government will see if the probe was done with predetermined intentions...the Congress is ideologically committed against any kind of lynching and our government is vigilant to ensure that it does not happen again,” he said.
Mr. Gehlot, who also holds the Home portfolio, said if Pehlu Khan’s family members approached the government to point out any lacuna in the investigation, he would ensure justice to them. The charge-sheet has based its case against Pehlu Khan’s sons, who were also beaten up in the incident, for the absence of a valid permit from the competent authority for transporting the bovine animals outside the State.
Alwar Superintendent of Police Paris Deshmukh told The Hindu that the charge sheet of FIR No. 253/17 was against three persons, who did not include Pehlu Khan. “Pehlu Khan’s name has been exclusively dropped and the charge-sheet has been filed against Irshad, Aarif and Khan Mohammed,” he said, adding that all of them had obtained bail from the Rajasthan High Court in 2018. Mr. Deshmukh said that a “complete picture” about the charge-sheet had not been presented and he would soon issue a statement on the case.
Khan, 55, was transporting cows, after purchasing them in a cattle fair in Jaipur, to their hometown Nuh in Haryana on April 1, 2017. They were waylaid near Behror on the Jaipur-Delhi national highway by the mob and beaten up with the accusation of smuggling cattle. Khan died of his injuries at a private hospital two days later.