A special court in Thane in Maharashtra on Saturday granted bail to 89 accused in the Palghar lynching case, in which three people were killed, reported PTI.

Advocates Amrut Adhikari and Atul Patil, representing the accused, told the court that the applicants had no role in the attack and they were arrested on mere suspicion. The accused also questioned the validity of the three FIRs registered in the incident.

District judge SB Bahalkar has fixed the date for hearing on February 15. A total of 201 persons have been arrested in the case. Seventy-five main accused are currently in jail.

The case

In April, three men in Maharashtra’s Palghar district were beaten to death by a group of villagers on the suspicion that they were thieves. The three were lynched while they were travelling in a car to Gujarat’s Surat to attend a funeral amid the coronavirus-induced lockdown. 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.

The victims were identified by the police as Chikne Maharaj Kalpavrukshagiri (70), Sushil Giri Maharaj (35) and Nilesh Telgade (30). Two of the victims were sadhus from Mumbai’s Kandivali suburb, and the third was their driver.

Three FIRs related to murder, armed rioting and other charges were registered in connection with the incident. The Palghar police initially investigated the case but it was later handed over to the Criminal Investigation Department.

The Maharashtra government had in September sacked three policemen who were suspended for not taking proper steps to stop a mob. The Maharashtra government had suspended five policemen following the incident, and transferred 35 personnel.