The Maharashtra Criminal Investigation Department (CID) on Wednesday filed a chargesheet in a court here against 126 accused in the Palghar lynching case in which two monks and their driver were beaten to death by a mob exactly three months ago.
The CID filed the 4,955-page chargesheet in the court of Judicial Magistrate First Class (JMFC) at Dahanu taluka in Palghar district located adjoining Mumbai, the probe agency said.
The team probing the incident examined 808 suspects and 118 witnesses to collect strong evidence against the accused, the CID said in a release.
In all, 154 persons were arrested and 11 juveniles in conflict with law, were detained. None of the accused has been released on bail so far, the release said.
“The chargesheet was filed by Deputy Superintendent of Police (CID) Vijay Pawar, the investigating officer in the case, at the JMFC court in Dahanu against 126 accused,” it said.
Besides sections of the IPC, the accused were charged under relevant provisions of the Disaster Management Act, the Epidemic Diseases Act (since lockdown was in force during the incident), the Maharashtra Police Actand the Maharashtra Damage to Public Property (Prevention) Act, the release said.
They were charged with murder, armed rioting and using criminal force to prevent a public servant from doing is duty, among other offences.
“Since there is adequate evidence against two juveniles in conflict with law, separate proceedings against them are being initiated before the Juvenile Justice Board,” it said, adding further investigation was in progress.
The voluminous document is being scrutinised by court officials, a CID official said.
Once the scrutiny is done, charges will be framed against the accused by the court, the official said.
Two monks and their driver were lynched by a mob at Gadchinchale village in the district on April 16 when they were travelling in a car to Surat to attend a funeral amid the coronavirus-induced lockdown, police have said.
The brutal mob attack took place amid rumours that child-lifters were roaming in the area during the lockdown, they have said.
The case was later handed over to the CID for probe.
Noted lawyer Satish Maneshinde has been appointed the Special Public Prosecutor in the case.
The victims were identified by the police as Chikne Maharaj Kalpavrukshagiri (70), Sushil Giri Maharaj (35) and their driver Nilesh Telgade (30).
After the incident caused an uproar, the state government suspended Kasa police station in-charge Anandrao Kale, under whose jurisdiction the crime took place, and some other policemen, including sub-inspectors.
Also, more than 35 police constables and personnel of other ranks were transferred in the wake of the mob attack.
The government had also sent the then Palghar district police chief, Gaurav Singh, on forced leave and replaced him with Dattatraya Shinde.
In all, three FIRs related to murder, armed rioting and other charges were registered in connection with the incident.
The Dahanu court has rejected bail application of 25 accused arrested in the case.