Pehlu case: Ashok Gehlot distances government from chargesheet naming sons
Rajasthan police have filed a chargesheet accusing the sons of Pehlu Khan, who was lynched by cow vigilantes two years ago, and a trucker of illegal cattle transport, sending the state’s Congress government scurrying to distance itself from the probe.
Earlier, All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen chief Asaduddin Owaisi had alleged that a Congress in power was the “replica of the BJP”, reacting to initial reports that mistakenly said Pehlu had also been chargesheeted.
The summary of the chargesheet does mention Pehlu but Alwar police clarified that “since Pehlu Khan has died, he has not been chargesheeted”.
Officers insisted that the case against Pehlu, sons Irshad, 25, and Aarif, 22, and trucker Khan Mohammad stood proved in the investigation.
An Alwar mob had thrashed Pehlu, a 55-year-old dairy farmer from Haryana, and his sons on the suspicion of cow smuggling on April 1, 2017, while they were taking home two milch cows bought from a Jaipur fair. Pehlu died on April 3.
A Rajasthan law bans cattle transport without permission from the administration. Pehlu’s sons say they had all the documents and had shown them to the attackers.
Chief minister Ashok Gehlot, who came to power last December, distanced his government from the investigation on Saturday, saying the probe had been done during BJP rule.
“If any discrepancy is found, we will get the case re-investigated. The Congress has not changed its stand on the issue,” he said. He added that cow vigilantes who kill people would not be spared.
Gehlot later tweeted that this case was different from the lynching case. He said the chargesheet had been submitted last December but since the accused were not present, the court accepted the challan on May 24 this year.
In September 2017, the Rajasthan police had exonerated the six accused — all VHP members — whom Pehlu had named in his dying declaration. But the trial court did not accept the police report and initiated the trial process.