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Uddhav Thackeray halted CBI probe into Palghar mob lynching at orders of Rahul Gandhi: Shiv Sena

Two Nashik-based Sadhus and their driver was brutally lynched to death on April 16, 2020 in the Gadchinchale village in Dahanu tehsil of Palghar district, nearly 120 kms from downtown Mumbai.
Last Updated : 13 April 2024, 04:09 IST
Last Updated : 13 April 2024, 04:09 IST

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Mumbai: Raking up the April 2020 Palghar mob lynching incident in which two Sadhus and their driver were killed near Mumbai, the Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena alleged that at the orders of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, the then Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray halted the transfer of the case to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

Two Nashik-based Sadhus, Kalpavriksha Giri Maharaj (70), Sushil Giri Maharaj (35) - belonged to the Varanasi-headquartered Shri Panch Dashnam Juna Akhara, the biggest order of sadhus in India - and their driver Nilesh Telgade (30), were brutally lynched to death on April 16, 2020 in the Gadchinchale village in Dahanu tehsil of Palghar district, nearly 120 kms from downtown Mumbai.

They were attacked amid rumours that child lifters were in the area even as the first wave of Covid-19 pandemic was sweeping the state.

The Kasa police station in Palghar initially registered the FIR, however, later the probe was handed over to the State-CID.

“The murder was committed while Thackeray was sleeping, and the (then) Home Minister (Anil Deshmukh) was busy collecting money, leading to suspicions that the sadhus were murdered at the behest of the Maharashtra government. At that time, Thackeray had given a tepid response and had kept the investigation machinery idle. The government’s reluctance to hand over the Sadhu murder case to the CBI prevented a timely investigation,” said Shiv Sena secretary and spokesperson Kiran Pawaskar.

According to Pawaskar, as the police made no significant progress even after three to four months, leaders of the Sadhus approached the Supreme Court in June 2020 seeking justice. “It was because of the Thackeray-led (Maha Vikas Aghadi) government's inaction that the Akhara leaders demanded the transfer of the case to the CBI. However, Thackeray's administration opposed transferring the case to the CBI,” he said.

Pawaskar said that on June 30, 2022, after nearly two years, Eknath Shinde assumed the role of Chief Minister of the state, and a swift decision was reached regarding this issue.

"Shinde decided to transfer the Sadhu murder case to CBI," Pawaskar said, adding that the Maha Yuti government also announced a financial aid of Rs 5 lakh to the families of the deceased sadhus.

“There's evidence suggesting that under pressure from Gandhi, Thackeray agreed not to transfer the case to the CBI,” he said.

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Published 13 April 2024, 04:09 IST

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