Monday, December 11, 2023

Palghar lynching case: Bombay High Court grants bail to 10 accused

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The Bombay High Court on Friday,granted bail to the ten accused while rejecting eight in the lynching case of Palghar where two Hindu sadhus and their driver were killed in Maharashtra way back in April 2020.

A Single-judge bench of Justice Bharati Dangre granted bail to 10 people holding that video footage and still photographs from the crime spot did not show them being “overtly” violent.

The other 8 accused in Palghar were, however, denied bail after observing that CCTV recordings and photographs from the site of violence clearly showed how they actively participated and assaulted the victims.

The bench was deciding over applications filed by 18 of the over 100 accused in the  Palghar lynching case by the state police.

The case dates back to April 16, 2020 where three people – two seers and their car driver – had died during the violence that erupted in Gadchinchile village during the coronavirus-induced nationwide lockdown. A mob of villagers had stopped the victims, travelling to Gujarat in a car, and attacked them suspecting they were thieves.

Also Read: PIL filed in Bombay High Court for non- functioning of SPCA in Maharashtra: Medha Patkar

The case was probed by the Palghar police initially, but subsequently transferred to the state CID-crime branch.

The 18 accused people who were considered for bail(only 10 got it) had approached the HC last year seeking bail,through their counsels Vaishali Raje, Ashish Chavan, Wesley Menezes and Ashley Cusher  but Special Public Prosecutor Satish Maneshinde, had  opposed all bail pleas citing the “gravity” of the offence.

In her order, Justice Dangre observed that the accused, who were denied bail , have been identified in the CCTV footage, still photos, and mobile phone recordings from the site.

The High court mentions that the footage shows how pelting stones at the car and hitting the victims was clear after the CCTV footage was seen which clearly shows the active participation of those who were denied bail.“

 “The material compiled against the applicants is based on the report of the FSL (Forensic Science Laboratory) where the reference photograph matched with the image of the accused in the CCTV footage and the video and, at this stage, it can be said to be sufficient material to implicate them

-the judge said while denying bail.

Also Read: Rajya Sabha MP P Wilson calls on CJI NV Ramana, submits letter for establishing Supreme Court regional benches

The HC judge clearly maintained that the people who have been granted bail will have to regularly attend the trial in the case as part of their bail conditions.

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