The investigation into the killing of Dalit lawyer Devji Maheshwari in Gujarat has revealed that he was murdered over his social media posts, The Indian Express reported on Sunday. Mumbai Police had arrested prime accused Bharat Raval a day after the murder, and had said that he found Maheshwari’s post “prejudicial to Brahmins”, the community Raval is from.
Maheshwari was stabbed to death on September 25 after he had an argument with Raval about his social media posts.
A Special Investigating Team looking into the matter corroborated the Mumbai Police’s information in a press release on Sunday.
“The evidence gathered in course of investigation suggests that Maheshwari used to upload objectionable posts about Brahmin community on his Facebook account. Raval had dialled him (Maheshwari) over this and the duo had a heated argument over phone. Investigation establishes that Raval had murdered Maheshwari over disputes that arose out of the social media posts against Brahmin community.”— Special Investigating Team's press release
The SIT also retrieved an audio recording from Raval’s phone that confirms the verbal argument between the two.
Maheshwari was a senior member of the Indian Legal Professionals Association and the All India Backward and Minority Communities Employees Federation. His last post on Facebook post was a video of Backward and Minority Communities Employees Federation National President Waman Meshram saying that members of Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes were not Hindus.
Raval, who is a native of Rapar town in Gujarat, worked at a printer repairing shop run by Mahesh Hanat alias Mahesh Bhoja Patel in Mumbai’s Malad area. After stabbing Maheshwari, Raval escaped to Mumbai with the help of his friends Prakash Bera and Rajesh alias Viram Devda. But when he reached the Malad shop the next day, the Mumbai crime branch had caught him.
In her complaint, Devji Maheshwari’s wife had named nine persons, including Raval, as accused. She said the accused had been issuing Maheshwari threats after the 50-year old advocate took up a civil matter relating to a dispute over title of Luhar-Suthar Samaj Vadi, a community hall in the town.
Unidentified officials in the investigating team however told The Indian Express that no evidence has so far been found against the other eight persons.