A new petition has been filed in the Supreme Court of India regarding the Palghar lynching case. Through the petition, a plea to let CBI take charge of the investigation of the case has been made. The petition, filed by relatives of the deceased priests in the mob lynching case and a few Sadhus of the Shri Panch Dashnam Juna Akhara, also incorporates a connected plea for probe into the case by the National Investigation Agency.
On 16th April 2020, a mob of roughly 150-200 villagers lynched three people with sticks and stones. The incident took place in Gadchinchale village, Palghar district, Maharashtra. The mob overpowered the police officers that came to the rescue of the victims and were beaten up, receiving injuries. The victims included two sadhus from Dashnam Juna Akhara-Chikne Maharaj Kalpavrukshagiri, Sushilgiri Maharaj and their driver, Nilesh Telgade. They were passing through the village and stopped at a checkpoint when villagers gathered around, attacking them with sticks.
The outrage among the villagers was incited by rumours of child kidnappers making rounds around the village for organ harvesting. The three people were mistaken as the same, an investigation report said. It is, however, not the first time that villagers of Gadchinchale have attacked travellers crossing the area solely based on rumours and false apprehensions.
The incident is considered another failure of the society as a whole to curb mob lynching. The police arrested over 100 people within eight hours of the incident, including juveniles. The accused were soon produced before a court in Dahanu, followed by an investigation probe. The case was soon transferred to be investigated by CID, and petitions ordering serious and fair process. Two Police officers in charge of the Kasa Police Station were suspended, and others transferred to other police stations after negligence regarding nullifying rumours and handling the unfortunate series of events was observed during an in-depth investigation.
Reason For The New Plea
Advocate Subhash Jha, representing the petitioners accorded a statement revealing how cumbersome the investigation has been under Maharashtra CID. He also said that vital evidence may be rendered vulnerable to tampering and eventually disappear or prove to be of no consequence. A fair investigation under CBI would give this a new speed and may keep any bias at bay. Suicides committed by the witnesses have triggered a sense of irregularity and foul political dynamic for the same. Apprehending that a bias driven CID may turn the breeze in their direction, the relatives and peers at the Akhara have demanded justice for the deceased victims.
The apex court has issued a notification to the Maharastra Government for an update of the investigation while the Maharashtra government claims it is a waste of time as similar petitions are still pending in the Bombay High Court. The next hearing will be held in the second week of July 2020.