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"There are allegations that one of the police personnel pushed the elderly Sadhu to the violent mob, instead of saving him, which led to his brutal lynching", the plea states, inter alia.
The Bombay High Court has issued notice and sought response from the State of Maharashtra on a plea seeking a transfer of the investigation in the Palghar lynching case from the Maharashtra Police CID branch to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
A petition filed by one Alakh Alok Shrivastava before the Bombay High Court has prayed for the probe in the Palghar lynching of two Sadhus and their driver to be transferred to the CBI, in view of videos indicating that the State police present during the incident did not intervene when it happened.
Admitting the petitions, the Single Judge Bench of Justice Ujjal Bhuyan has sought a response from the State of Maharashtra, the Director General of Police of the Maharashtra police and the CBI on this plea within two weeks.
The Court has also asked the authorities to file a report on the investigation conducted thus far, including a status report on the departmental inquiry conducted against the suspended Police officials in relation to this incident. The Court will hear the matter next on May 20.
The petitioner's case is that when the incident of the lynching took place on April 16, it appears that the Police present did not even attempt to stop the mob from brutalising the three persons. These submissions are founded on various video clips and media reports that have emerged since.
While the Police subsequently arrested as many as 101 persons in relation to this incident, the petitioner avers that there are also some serious allegations against the Police personnel present at the time of the incident. One of the allegations made concerns why the Police allowed for a large mob to gather and assemble considering the COVID-19 lockdown in place.
Being "personally aggrieved and deeply anguished" by the "heartwrenching" and brutal lynching of the victims, the petitioner has moved the High Court under Article 226 seeking for the probe to be transferred from the Maharashtra Police to an independent central agency such as the CBI or a Special Investigation Team (SIT).
Since there are allegations of omission of action on the part of the Police personnel, the probe in the case ought to be conducted by an independent agency, the petitioner has argued.
The case requires speedy trial and expeditious justice, it is added. A free, fair, and expeditious trial will ensure that no such lynchings take place in the country again, the petitioner states further.
In addition to the transfer of the probe, the petitioner has also prayed for a direction for the State of Maharashtra to disburse compensation for one of three victims of the lynching given that the two Sadhus had already renounced worldly pleasures. A direction for the initiation of strict disciplinary and penal action against the erring personnel has also been sought.
Read the Petition: