<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Months after Rajasthan dairy farmer Pehlu Khan was lynched in Alwar by cow vigilantes, a civil society collective on Thursday released a report highlighting several loopholes in the Behror police’s investigation in the case. The lapses –the report states –allegedly weakened the case against the accused and also let them go scot-free after the alleged murder.In April this year, Khan was attacked by a mob of 200 people while he was on his way home. Before dying two days later at a private hospital, he named six of his attackers in a statement given to the police.However, none of them were arrested. As per the report, in September, the police instead concluded that none of those named was involved in the attack. Those arrested were not named either in Khan’s statement or in the First Information Report (FIR). They got bail despite being charged with murder.The independent report states the police did not book the accused under the stringent, relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code, despite clinching evidence of their involvement in the case and also delayed the filing of the FIR. It states the sabotage began with the FIR. For instance, while the lynching took place between 7pm and 10pm on April 1, the FIR was unnecessary delayed and filed at 4.24am, even though the attack site was only two km away from the police station, the report states. Moreover, despite Khan’s statement, he was not named as the complainant in the FIR. Even the names of the policemen present at the attack site were not named in the FIR. The report states that even though Khan’s severe beating led to his death, the FIR does not invoke Sec 307 of the IPC for the offence of “attempt to murder” which provides for imprisonment of 10 years to life. “Instead, the FIR invokes Sec 308, which only takes cognisance of “attempt to culpable homicide not amounting to murder”, prescribing imprisonment of three to seven years, the report states. It added that despite section 308 non bailable and section 302 added in the charge sheet being non bailable as well, the arrested accused secured bail as the prosecution failed to defend the charges and the arrests at the Rajasthan High Court. The report states that several sections like 120B dealing with criminal conspiracy, 204 on destruction of evidence and 153A dealing with promoting enmity on grounds of religion and section 148 dealing with rioting with weapon, among other important sections were ignored in the FIR and charge sheet filed by the police. This is despite availability of relevant evidences for the sections to be invoked including finding of lathis and destruction of receipts available with Khan for the cattle he bought.The report states that despite four of the six people named by Khan in his dying declaration, the police could not trace the named accused for five months after the incident. “First, they failed to arrest the men even though a police officer had recorded Mr. Khan’s statement at 11.50 p.m. on April 1, less than two hours after the attack. Second, apart from announcing a reward of Rs. 5,000 for information on their whereabouts, the police made no efforts to trace the six and arrest them,” the report states, adding that it is not known if the police conducted any raids, not only at the residences of these accused but also at those of their relatives and friends, as well as at their other likely hideouts.It further mentions that more than five months after the attack, the police not only exonerated every one of the six accused that Khan had named in a sudden move, but also questions why the appropriate legal provisions were not invoked, including attaching their properties and freezing their bank accounts, to force the surrender of the accused. “The police did not even move court for the issuance of warrants of arrest against the men, nor ask the court to order them to surrender before it, remedies available under Sections 82 and 83 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC),” it states.It also states that the police the police and the prosecution tried to negate the Khan’s post mortem report with statements from doctors at the private Kailash Hospital in Behror where he had passed away, who said his death could have been because of a weak heart and also pointed to an X-ray and a USG ultra-sonography revealed that the chest, lungs and abdomen of Khan were normal with no injuries.”The records establish that the police and the prosecution have, through acts of commission and omission, worked from the day of the attack to diminish the enormity of the crime, weakening the case against the accused,” the report alleged.

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Civil society collective releases report; highlights lapses in police’s investigation in Pehlu Khan’s murder