A lawyer, representing the two sadhus lynched in Maharashtra’s Palghar district last month, died in a road accident on Wednesday, The Indian Express reported. The deceased identified as 32-year-old Digvijay Trivedi was also the head of the legal cell of political party Bahujan Vikas Aghadi.
The police said Trivedi and his colleague Preeti Trivedi were travelling to a court in Dahanu in Palghar district when their car overturned around 9.30 am near Charoti Naka on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad highway. The lawyers were hired by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad to represent the religious leaders. Both of them were to see the remand of the six accused arrested in the lynching case and of a juvenile detained by the state’s Crime Investigation Department.
On the night of April 16, three Mumbai residents, who were on their way to Silvassa, were lynched by local residents in Gadakchinchale village of Palghar district on the suspicion that they were thieves. A large mob of villagers had surrounded the car of the three men and started attacking them with sticks and iron rods, leading to their deaths. Two of the victims were sadhus from Kandivali suburb in Mumbai, and the third was their driver.
“The deceased was speeding and lost control of the vehicle,” Assistant Police Inspector Siddhva Jaybhaye of Kasa police station told the newspaper. “There are skid marks on the road indicating that he tried to bring the car under control.”
Jaybhaye ruled out any foul play in Trivedi’s death, and said it was an accident. The police have also registered a case of accidental death.
However, Trivedi’s father Omprakash raised doubts about the accident, Mid Day reported. “I am yet to believe that my lone son is no more,” he said. “He had been driving his own car since past five years and never got a scratch on his car. He always drove very safely. How this accident took place is a mystery to me. His junior associate, who is said to be critical, will be in a better condition to reveal what happened on the road and how the accident took place.”
Bharatiya Janata Party leader Sambit Patra also raised questions about Trivedi’s death. “VHP’s lawyer in the Palghar mob lynching case, Digvijay Trivedi, died in a road accident,” he tweeted. “This news is disturbing. Is it a mere coincidence that those who raised the Palghar case were either attacked by Congress workers or got FIRs registered against them? Well this is a matter of investigation.”
On May 1, the Supreme Court ordered the Maharashtra government to submit a status report on the investigation in the lynching case within four weeks. A bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan and Sanjiv Khanna sought the report while hearing a petition accusing the police of failing to check the gathering of locals despite strict lockdown orders. The petitioners asked for the setting-up of a Supreme Court-monitored special investigation team or a judicial commission headed by a retired judge to probe the incident.