The Alwar Police have rubbished claims that the witnesses in the 2017 Pehlu Khan lynching case were attacked last week while on their way to Behror in Rajasthan, The Indian Express reported on Wednesday.
The police claimed the incident was concocted with the motive to shift the case out of the Behror court.
The alleged incident took place on National Highway 8 when the witnesses were travelling from Nuh in Haryana to Rajasthan. “I was in the car with witnesses Azmat and Rafiq and Pehlu’s sons Irshad and Arif, along with driver Amjad,” lawyer Asad Hyatt had said on September 29. “We were going to Behror to testify Pehlu’s lynching but when we crossed Neemrana, a black Scorpio without a number plate tried to overtake us and make us stop.”
Khan’s son Irshad Khan said the vehicle moved close to their car and men in the vehicle waved to them, asking them to stop their car. Irshad Khan said they did not stop their car since the other vehicle did not have a number plate. “Then their vehicle came nearer and the men started hurling abuses at us, telling us to stop at once,” said Irshad Khan. “Then they overtook us and fired upon us.” Hyatt said their car took a U-turn to avoid the other vehicle. “They started firing at us as we didn’t stop,” he had said.
Alwar Deputy Superintendent of Police Kushal Singh said the allegations were false. “We have a lot of evidence to deny the claims,” Singh said. “The CCTV footage along the spot [of the alleged firing] shows that there was no black Scorpio before or after the vehicle. We have filed a final report in the case.”
“We found a well-placed CCTV along the spot but there was no black Scorpio passing by the location before or even half an hour after the witnesses’ vehicle passed the location,” Singh claimed, adding that there should have only been a 10-second delay between the two vehicles.
“After the alleged incident, the six people went back to Neemrana toll booth. They could have asked the toll booth staff to alert police about the firing,” Singh said, according to the Hindustan Times. “On their way to Alwar, they crossed Neemrana, Shahjahanpur, Bardod and Tatarpur police stations but they did not report the incident to any of these and chose to drive straight to SP office.”
Lawyer Hayat said they will study the report first. “We had told them that we are headed to meet the SP,” he said. “It’s not as if we didn’t inform them or didn’t meet them. They had started calling us within half an hour so there’s the compliance.”
He added: “The question is about the point of incident. If that vehicle is not showing up in CCTV footage, then it could have been positioned elsewhere nearby from where it followed us.”
After the alleged attack, Irshad Khan had said they do not “have faith in Behror police” since they gave a “clean chit to the people” named in the FIR for murdering Pehlu Khan.
Pehlu Khan, a dairy farmer, was attacked in April 2017 while he was transporting his cows from Rajasthan to Haryana. Although he had permits for the animals, a group of men had accused him of transporting them illegally and then assaulted him. Many of his attackers were allegedly affiliated with the Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad.