Mobile Tower Mismatch, Cop’s False Statement and Over 30 Other Lapses in Pehlu Khan Lynching Probe
The CID Crime Branch gave the accused a clean chit on grounds that their mobile tower location at the time of lynching was a cowshed. The SIT said it was only 2km away from the crime scene and this is not sufficient proof.
A picture of Pehlu Khan, who was lynched by cow vigilantes in April 2017.
Jaipur: A special investigation team set up by the Rajasthan government to investigate the lynching of dairy farmer Pehlu Khan in 2017 has found lapses committed by all four probe officers in the case, and has highlighted glaring shortcomings in the way the video evidence was handled.
The report was submitted to Rajasthan Director General of Police Bhupendra Singh on Thursday, and will soon be presented before chief minister Ashok Gehlot. The SIT was formed by the Rajasthan government after all six accused in the case were acquitted by a district court on August 14 due to lack of evidence.
The three-member team formed to hold a fresh inquiry and examine the previous investigation said the video of the crime was not taken on record for evidence, despite the fact that it was used to identify the accused.
The video, which showed 55-year-old Khan, dressed in a white salwaar kurta, being dragged on the highway by a group of cow vigilantes who beat him mercilessly, had gone viral on the internet and can still be seen online, but was not used as evidence in the trial as the police did not get it authenticated by the Forensic Science Laboratory.
The SIT, in its report, has also pointed out that investigation officer Parmal Singh had seized the mobile phone, which was used to record the lynching, but failed to produce it before the court.
The report further says that the officer “gave a false statement before the court that he had not seized the mobile phone”.
In all, the investigating officer alone is alleged to have made 29 “mistakes”. The second investigating officer given charge of the case later also overlooked the lapses. The third investigating officer did not record the statements of witnesses, while the fourth one exonerated six accused without any new or solid evidence.
Once the Crime Branch of the CID took over the case from the police, it gave a clean chit to the accused on grounds that their mobile tower location at the time of lynching was found at ‘Dahmi Gaushala’, and not at the crime scene at Behror, giving them an alibi, the SIT said.
However, the SIT team, alleging negligence at hands of the CID-CB, found that that the distance between the crime scene and the ‘gaushala’ was only 2km. It pointed out that a mobile can pick up a signal from different towers if they are such a short distance apart.
The SIT report said the six accused – Vipin Yadav, Ravindra Yadav, Kalu Ram Yadav, Dayanand Yadav, Yogesh Khati, and Bhim Rathi – should also have been charged with dacoity, rioting and rioting armed with a deadly weapon in addition to murder, but important evidence was either not gathered or not presented properly during the trial.
Khan was killed in April 2017 after he was attacked by cow vigilantes near Behror on the Jaipur-Delhi national highway. He was transporting cows to his hometown Nuh in Haryana when the cow vigilantes waylaid him and his son and accused them of smuggling cattle even though he produced papers to prove that the consignment was legal. Khan had died at a private hospital two days later.
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