Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Friday set up a three-member special investigation team to hold a fresh inquiry into the Pehlu Khan lynching case. All six accused in the case were acquitted for lack of sufficient evidence by a court in Alwar on Wednesday.

Gehlot held a review meeting to examine the shortcomings in the inquiry and the court’s findings, an official statement said. The meeting was attended by the additional chief home secretary, the state’s police chief, the principal secretary for law and the additional director general of police for crime, PTI reported.

The special investigation team will identify errors and irregularities in the inquiry and fix responsibility. It will also examine oral and documentary evidence that was not collected earlier. A senior lawyer will be hired to prepare the appeal against the verdict, Gehlot said. The team will submit its report within 15 days.

Lynching case acquittals

On Wednesday, the court of the additional district judge in Rajasthan’s Alwar district had acquitted all the six adult accused in the Pehlu Khan lynching case, giving them the benefit of doubt. Three other accused, who were minors at the time of the crime, are being tried separately at a juvenile court.

The Rajasthan government has said it will appeal against the judgement.

Khan was killed in April 2017 after being attacked by cow vigilantes near Behror on the Jaipur-Delhi national highway. The 55-year-old dairy farmer was transporting cows to his hometown Nuh in Haryana on April 1 after purchasing them at a cattle fair in Jaipur. The mob of cow vigilantes waylaid Khan and his son, and accused them of smuggling cattle even though he produced papers to prove that the consignment was legal. Khan died at a private hospital two days later.

On August 5, the Rajasthan Legislative Assembly had approved a bill to provide for life imprisonment and a fine of up to Rs 5 lakh in mob lynching cases that involve the victim’s death.