The Supreme Court on Thursday asked the Maharashtra government to produce chargesheets filed so far in the Palghar lynching case within three weeks, PTI reported.
On 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 Mumbai’s Kandivali suburb, and the third was their driver. Over 35 police constables and personnel of other ranks were transferred after the incident caused an uproar.
A bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan and R Subhash Reddy said they want to examine the chargesheet and file an affidavit about the action taken against the policemen allegedly involved in the incident. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, said media reports suggest that the chargesheet is over 10,000 pages.
The court was hearing petitions filed by sadhus of “Shri Panch Dashnam Juna Akhara’’ and relatives of the deceased priests. Advocate Shashank Shekhar Jha, appearing for the petitioners, demanded a Central Bureau of Investigation into the case. Their petitions alleged the investigation by the state police was being conducted in a biased manner. “Several video clippings have emerged on social media and news reports which very clearly demonstrate the active involvement of the police present, who can be seen handing over the three persons to the unlawful assembly of persons gathered,” the plea claimed.
Another application was filed by Advocate Ghanshyam Upadhyay, calling for a National Investigation Agency-monitored probe into the matter.
Besides sections of the Indian Penal Code, the accused in the case were charged under relevant provisions of the Disaster Management Act and the Epidemic Diseases Act as the incident took place during the coronavirus-induced lockdown. They were also charged with murder, armed rioting and using criminal force to prevent a public servant from doing their duty, among other offences.