Two years after Haryana resident Pehlu Khan was lynched by cow vigilantes in Rajasthan's Alwar district, the police in Alwar have filed a chargesheet against his two sons and a truck operator for illegally transporting cattle. As the latest development heats up, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Saturday said police probe into Pehlu Khan's lynching in 2017 will be re-investigated if needed, reacting to the posthumous chargesheet filed against mob-lynching victim. He added that the police probe in the matter was conducted under the previous BJP government, defending that his government, saying Pehlu Khan was not indicted.
A statement released by the Rajasthan CM's office read: "The Congress party is ideologically committed against any kind of lynching anywhere in the country and our government is vigilant to ensure it will not have happened again."
The statement, bits of which have been tweeted by the Rajasthan chief minister, indicated that the news report published by a media publication is "factually incorrect".
"News reported in Indian Express is factually incorrect. Name of Late #PehluKhan is not there in the chargesheet submitted by #Rajasthan Police in December 2018," he tweeted.
"Investigation into the case was done during the BJP rule. If any discrepancy is found, we will get the case re-investigated," he said.
"The Congress has not changed its stand on the issue," he added, saying those who indulge in such killings on the pretext of "gau raksha" won't be spared.
Later, the CM tweeted that this was a case separate from the one related to the lynching, and was registered and investigated under the previous government.
Since the three accused named in the chargesheet were not present at the time of its submission in December 2018, the district court accepted the "challan" on May 24, he said. He also tweeted that Pehlu Khan wasn't indicted "however, our government will see if the investigation was done with predetermined intentions."
since accused name in the chargesheet were not present at the time of the submission in December 2018, the District court accepted the Challan on 24thmay 2018. However, our government will see if investigation was done with predetermined intentions.— Ashok Gehlot (@ashokgehlot51) June 29, 2019
Alwar Superintendent of Police Anil Paris Deshmukh told news agency PTI that "the chargesheet was accepted by the court on May 24 against three persons under the Rajasthan Bovine Animal Act. Since Pehlu Khan had died, he has not been chargesheeted."
However, Pehlu Khan's name was mentioned in the summary of the chargesheet.
The issue triggered a row with AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi charging that the Congress in power was the "replica of the BJP".
Owaisi was reacting to earlier reports that Pehlu Khan was also chargesheeted.
Although the case goes back to April 2017 when the BJP was in power in the state, the chargesheet is being filed months after the Congress took over.
The police has maintained that the case against Pehlu Khan, his sons Irshad Khan (25) Aarif Khan (22) and truck operator Khan Mohammad stood proved in the investigation.
They were charged under the Rajasthan Bovine Animal (Prohibition of Temporary Migration or Export) Act, 1995.
Pehlu Khan and his sons were thrashed by a mob on the suspicion of cow smuggling in Alwar's Behror on Aprli 1, 2017. Pehlu Khan died at a hospital in Alwar on April 3.
The Rajasthan Police registered a case against the people who allegedly lynched Pehlu Khan and thrashed his companions.
Six men were named in the FIR which also mentioned about 200 unidentified people.
A case was also registered then against Pehlu Khan and others under the Rajasthan Bovine Animal Act, which allows the transportation of cattle only after getting permission from the administration.
The police had then booked 16 people for illegally transporting 36 animals in six vehicles.
They were on their way to Nuh district in Haryana from Jaipur when the cow vigilantes stopped two of the vehicles in Behror on the Jaipur-Delhi national highway, thrashing Pehlu Khan and his sons.
Earlier, former BJP MLA Gyan Deo Ahuja said Pehlu Khan and other accused were involved in the smuggling of cows, which was "proved" in the police investigation.
(With PTI inputs)