The Rajasthan High Court on Wednesday ordered the quashing of a cow smuggling case filed against the sons of Pehlu Khan, the man who was lynched in Alwar district in April 2017 by a mob of cow vigilantes, the Hindustan Times reported. Khan had also been named in the chargesheet but was not formally accused as he was already dead.

The High Court said documents showed the cattle being transported by Khan had been purchased for dairy use, not slaughter. The court was hearing a petition filed by the truck driver and Pehlu Khan’s two sons. Their lawyer, Kapil Gupta, told the court that the case was a sheer misuse and abuse of the process of law since there was no evidence that the cows were being transported for illegal purposes, PTI reported.

“The court said the cows were milch and the calves were one and two years old so it cannot be presumed that they were being taken for slaughter,” Gupta said, according to the Hindustan Times.

Pehlu Khan was attacked by cow vigilantes near Behror on the Jaipur-Delhi national highway on April 1, 2017. The 55-year-old dairy farmer was transporting cows to his hometown Nuh in Haryana after buying them at a cattle fair in Jaipur. The mob 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.

In August this year, a court in Alwar acquitted all the six accused in the lynching case, giving them the benefit of doubt.

The Rajasthan government had said it would challenge the judgement. A special investigation team set up by the state government to look into the case found multiple lapses in the police inquiry.

Police had also filed a chargesheet against Khan’s sons, Arif and Irshad Khan, and Khan Mohammed, who owned the pick-up truck being used by the dairy farmer to transport the animals. It was filed under Sections 5, 8 and 9 of the Rajasthan Bovine Animal (Prohibition of Slaughter and Regulation of Temporary Migration or Export) Act, 1995. A Rajasthan court had in July accepted a police application seeking permission to reopen the investigation into the case against a truck operator and the sons of Pehlu Khan.

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