Palghar lynching: SC asks Maharashtra for report on inquiry against policemen [6.8.2020]

Reported on :

6.8.2020, New Delhi

A bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan and R Subhash Reddy asked the state government to also file the charge sheet before it, saying it would like to examine the report.

The Supreme Court Thursday asked the Maharashtra government what action has been taken against police personnel in connection with the alleged lynching of two sadhus and their driver in Palghar district on April 16. It asked the state government to bring on record the chargesheets filed in the case and the status of inquiry against the police personnel.

Hearing petitions that sought an investigation by NIA or CBI while questioning the police role and probe, a bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan and R Subhash Reddy pointed out that Maharashtra filed an affidavit dated July 29 “which mentions in paragraph 3 that two chargesheets have been filed in July 2020”, and that “a departmental enquiry against the police personnel was ordered and show-cause notices have been issued”.

“Let the State bring the chargesheets on record … Let details of the inquiry, including the action taken against the police personnel as well as the inquiry report, be also brought on the record,” the bench said while posting the matter for hearing after three weeks and asking the state government to submit its response by then.

Seeking a CBI probe, Advocate Shashank Shekhar Jha, appearing for one of the petitioners, said there has been no action against the police personnel till now.

Appearing for another petitioner, Juna Akhara, Advocate Ashutosh Lohia said Maharashtra Police had filed two FIRs and the accused will be acquitted even if a chargesheet is filed, adding that monitoring is required to preserve the evidence. Advocate Subhash Jha, representing another petitioner, raised questions on the police role.

Justice Bhushan then asked about the status of the inquiry against the police, to which Maharashtra’s counsel Advocate Rahul Chitnis replied that the state had filed an affidavit. However, the bench asked “what (happened) after the show cause notice?” and told Chitnis that “you need to submit the chargesheets on record here”.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said it needs to be looked into whether the police had any role in the incident. Besides Maharashtra government, one of the petitions has arrayed the Centre, CBI and DGP, Maharashtra as respondents.

The victims from Mumbai were travelling in a car to attend a funeral in Gujarat’s Surat in the lockdown when they were attacked by a mob.

[Source : The Indian Express]

07 Aug 2020