An Alwar court in Rajasthan on Wednesday acquitted all six men accused of beating Pehlu Khan to death.
At present, the six accused — Vipin Yadav, Ravindra Kumar, Kaluram, Dayanand, Yogesh Kumar and Bhim Rathi — have been tried in the Alwar court while three other accused, who were minors at the time of the crime, are being tried separately at a juvenile court.
As soon as judge Sarita Swamy of Upper District and Sessions Court (Number-1) Alwar pronounced the judgement, slogans of ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ were heard outside the court.
Pehlu Khan was beaten to death on the Jaipur-Delhi Highway in Alwar on April 1, 2017 while he and his sons were bringing cattle bought from a fair in Jaipur to their home in Haryana’s Nuh. He later died during treatment.
“We put 44 witnesses on the stand and put all the evidence to light. The benefit of doubt worked in favour of the accused. We are now going to appeal this in the High Court”, said Additional Public Prosecutor Yogendra Singh Khatana.
Meanwhile, the accused’s counsel Hum Chand Sharma said, “This is a historic decision and the innocent have been given justice. Those who wanted to divide the country between Hindus and Muslims, it is a tight slap to all of them. This has increased the credibility of the justice system. It is the right decision taken by the court.”
The accused were not named in the initial statement by Pehlu Khan before he died.
There were also contradictions behind the cause of his death. The doctors at the private hospital said he died due to a heart attack but the post mortem report said he succumbed to the injuries received due to beating.
Also, the videographic evidence was termed as ‘not admissible evidence’ in the court. Also, the man who made the video did not depose in court .
There was a continuous hearing after the chargesheet was presented by the police in the court.
The trial had concluded on August 7 and more than 40 witnesses, including Khan’s two sons who were with him on the day of the lynching, have deposed in the case so far.
In 2017, the CID-Crime Branch of Rajasthan Police had given a clean chit to all the six named by Pehlu Khan in his statement, leading to widespread criticism.