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The Supreme Court today agreed to hear a petition seeking the probe into the Palghar lynching incident to be transferred to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) or a court-monitored Special Investigation Team (SIT). (Shashank Shekhar Jha vs UOI - Petition)
The Bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan and Sanjiv Khanna took up the PIL filed by Advocate Shashank Shekhar Jha for hearing via video conferencing today.
While it did not pass any orders as regards stay on the ongoing investigation in the case, the Court has sought a status report from the State of Maharashtra. The next date of hearing is fixed after four weeks. The Petitioner is directed to serve a copy of the petition to the Counsel of the State of Maharashtra.
The lynching of the two Sadhus and a driver took place on April 16 in Maharashtra's Palghar. Following the brutal incident, the police had made several arrests in the case. Over 100 persons, including some minors, were arrested in connection to the case, while two police personnel stand suspended.
The suspended police personnel were found to be present at the scene of the crime when the incident took place. As captured in various video clips, they were seen to be inactive while the brutal lynching was being carried out.
The petitioner before the Supreme Court has highlighted that even the National Human Rights Commission has issued notice to the police chief of Maharashtra, while observing that incident is "apparently indicative of negligence by the public servants".
The plea raises the possibility of the incident being pre-planned and says that there could have been police involvement in the same. It adds that despite a nation-wide lockdown, a mob of over 100 people gathered, that too in the presence of the police.
In his petition, Jha has sought directions for the probe to be conducted by a Judicial Commission, or a court-monitored SIT, or an agency like the CBI. As of now, the investigation is being conducted by the CID of the Maharashtra Police.
Additionally, the petitioner has also sought for the trial in the case to be transferred from Palghar to the Fast Track Court at Saket Court, Delhi, in the interest of a fair and expeditious trial. A direction for registration of an FIR against the police personnel present at the time of the incident is also prayed for by the petitioner.
The petition is filed through Advocate Rashi Bansal.