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Palghar Mob Lynching – ‘Hindu Hater’ Rahul Gandhi blocked the CBI probe proposed by Uddhav Thackeray Govt

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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 claimed that on the orders of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, then Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray halted the case’s transfer to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

According to the various news reports, Thackeray opposed the case’s transfer to the CBI due to pressure from Congress leader Rahul Gandhi.

On April 16, 2020, two Nashik-based Sadhus, Kalpavriksha Giri Maharaj (70), Sushil Giri Maharaj (35) – members of the Varanasi-based Shri Panch Dashnam Juna Akhara, India’s largest order of sadhus – and their driver Nilesh Telgade (30) were brutally lynched to death in the Gadchinchale village in Dahanu tehsil of Palghar district, nearly 120 kilometers from downtown Mumbai.

They were targeted amid rumors that child lifters were in the area, just as the first wave of the Covid-19 outbreak hit the state.

The FIR was initially recorded at the Kasa police station in Palghar, but the investigation was later transferred 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, after three to four months of no meaningful development, Sadhu leaders addressed 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 stated that on June 30, 2022, after nearly two years, Eknath Shinde took over as Chief Minister of the state, and a quick resolution was made on this matter.

“Shinde decided to transfer the Sadhu murder case to the CBI,” Pawaskar said, adding that the Maha Yuti government has also given a Rs 5 lakh financial assistance 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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