Supreme Court of India

The Supreme Court on Thursday sought response from Maharashtra government regarding CBI probe into the lynching of Sadhus in Palghar.

While agreeing to hear a plea seeking a CBI probe into the lynching of the Sadhus, a bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan, M.R. Shah and V. Ramasubramanian issued notice on a separate plea seeking National Investigating Agency (NIA) probe to ensure evidence in the matter is not destroyed.

The apex court has fixed further hearing on the matter in the second week of July.

A group of petitioners, all Juna Akhara priests and some of the relatives of the victims told the top court that they have no faith in Maharashtra government or the police.

The petitioners also said that they do not expect a fair and just investigation into the case, as they suspected the government and police’s involvement in it.

“There is a reasonable apprehension of bias, if Respondent No. 2 (Maharashtra police) proceeds with the investigation. It is judicially acknowledged that right to fair and just investigation is guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution.

“Therefore, the petitioners have approached this court inter alia, seeking transfer of investigation of the matter to the Central Bureau of Investigation”, argued the petitioners.

Maharashtra government counsel opposed the petitions and contended before the top court that similar matters are pending before the Bombay High Court too.

The plea contended that the Sadhus were brutally and mercilessly beaten to death in the presence and possible complicity of the Maharashtra police and the state government.

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