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Palghar lynchings: Cop sacked, 2 more ‘compulsorily retired’

Palghar (Maharashtra),  In a stringent action, the Maharashtra government has dismissed one suspended policeman and slapped compulsory retirement on two others in a fallout of the April 16 Palghar lynching case which claimed the lives of two sadhus and their driver, an official said here on Monday.

“Following a departmental enquiry, Assistant Police-Inspector Anandrao Kale has been served with dismissal orders while his colleagues — Assistant Sub-Inspector Ravi Salunkhe and Constable Naresh Dhodi — have been compulsorily retired,” Palghar Police Spokesperson Sachin Navadkar .

The dismissal and retirement orders, all with immediate effect, were issued late on Saturday by Konkan Range Inspector General of Police Niket Kaushik.

In a major reshuffle after the incident, in April-May, two policemen — Sudhir Katare and Santosh Mukne — were suspended by the then Palghar Superintendent of Police Gaurav Singh while another 35 police personnel of the Kasa Police Station were transferred to other parts of the district.

On May 7, during his visit to the Gadchinchale village in Kasa — where the lynchings took place — state Home Minister Anil Deshmukh had shunted SP Singh on compulsory leave and he awaits a posting till now.

On April 16 night, the victims — Kalpavrikshagiri Maharaj, 70, his assistant Sushilgiri Maharaj, 35, of the Juna Akhada, and their driver Nilesh Telgade, 30, were waylaid when they were en route from Mumbai to Surat for a funeral during the lockdown.

Mistaking them to be robbers or kidnappers, a huge mob of over 800 tribals and villagers pounced on them with stones, sticks and sickles, and the trio later succumbed to grievous injuries — sparking a nationwide political furore.

The case which was subsequently handed over to the state CID resulted in three chargesheets filed against a total of 126 accused before the Dahanu Magistrate Court, besides 11 juveniles and 28 others against whom the investigations are still underway.

As per the chargesheet, there was wild rumour-mongering on social media sites like WhatsApp claiming that some persons from a minority community would be arriving in Gadchinchale, Divshi, Kinhavli, Dabhadi villages in Palghar and Rudana in the adjoining Union Territory of Dadra and Nagar-Haveli, with alleged intent to kidnap children and people to remove their body organs.

While 11 juvenile accused were granted bail by the Juvenile Justice Board, 10 other accused (adults) were granted default bail as the chargesheet against them was not filed within the mandatory 90-days.

The accused have been booked under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, Disaster Management Act, Epidemic Diseases Act, Maharashtra Police Act, Maharashtra Damage to Public Property (Amendment) Act with charges pertaining to murder, attempt to murder, armed rioting, using criminal force to prevent a public servant from discharging his duties, etc.

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