The Rajasthan High Court on Monday issued a bailable warrant against the six men acquitted in the 2017 Pehlu Khan lynching case, reported Live Law.
Pehlu Khan, a 55-year-old dairy farmer, and his sons were beaten up in April 2017 by a mob of self-styled cow vigilantes on allegations of smuggling cattle. Khan and his son were transporting cows after purchasing them at a cattle fair in Jaipur, to their hometown Nuh, Haryana. The mob stopped them near Behror on the Jaipur-Delhi national highway.
Khan had succumbed to injuries in a hospital two days after the incident.
On August 14, 2019, a sessions court had acquitted all the six accused, giving them the benefit of doubt. In September 2019, a special investigation team set up by the Rajasthan government to look into the lynching had found multiple lapses in the police investigation.
The SIT report also said the six accused – Vipin Yadav, Ravindra Yadav, Kalu Ram Yadav, Dayanand Yadav, Yogesh Khati and Bhim Rathi – should have been charged with dacoity, rioting, and rioting armed with a deadly weapon in addition to murder.
In October 2019, the Congress-led Rajasthan government filed an appeal in the High Court against their acquittal.
Rajasthan High Court’s order on Monday came on a plea filed by Khan’s sons, Irshad and Arif. The High Court has clubbed the plea with the Congress government’s petition.
In their plea, Khan’s sons said that their father died of injuries sustained during the lynching and that the weapons used in the attack were recovered from the accused.
The plea also challenged the trial court’s acquittal order. It said that despite the fact that the testimony of the witnesses were credible, the lower court had discarded it.
In its acquittal order, the lower court had ruled that video footage that went viral on social media could not be considered admissible evidence in the absence of any certification by the forensic science laboratory, reported The Times of India.
The prosecution could not prove the accused were visible in the video and Khan’s sons also reportedly could not identify them. The court also said there were contradictions in Khan’s cause of death, which varied from heart attack to injuries inflicted during the attack. It said that the man who recorded the video had also not testified.