Pradip Kumar Maitra, Hindustan Times
Nagpur, February 14, 2007
The Khairlanji Action Committee has taken a strong exception to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) seeking discharge of 35 accused of the brutal Dalit killings at Khairlanji . The action committee has sought that the CBI should probe the incident afresh.
The CBI had pleaded a trial court at Mohadi in Bhandara district on Monday to discharge 35 of the 46 accused in the Khairlanji massacre due to lack of evidences. The state CID, the initial investigating agency, had arrested 46 persons, including four women in connection with the murder case.
However, the case was later handed over to the CBI which found involvement of only 11 persons in the gruesome murder case. Now only 11 accused will stand trial against whom the CBI had filed a supplementary charge sheet. While giving a clean chit to 35 accused, it moved an application in this regard before the court of judicial magistrate (first class) PY Ladekar at Mohadi. The court, however, did not take up the matter.
These 35 persons, including the Khairlanji sarpanch Upasrao Khandate and his deputy Urkunda Khurpe are currently on bail while 11 are in judicial custody which was further extended till February 22 by the Mohadi court.
The court had granted bail to 35 accused on the surety of Rs 25,000 in cash and solvency of the same amount from each person. They were directed by the court not to leave Khairlanji village without prior permission of the police station concerned.
Four members of Bhotmange family – Surekha, her daughter Priyanka, sons Roshan and Sudhir – were mercilessly killed by a section of caste Hindus at Khairlanji on September 28 last. The incident sparked violent protests in various parts of the state and the state government finally handed over the probe to the CBI.
Milind Pakhale and Milind Fulzhele of Khairlanji Action Committee felt that by giving a clean chit to 35 accused, the credential of the central agency was now under cloud. It was suggested that the accused, including the police personnel and the medical officials should undergo a narco analysis test which was, however, never conducted, they further pointed out. According to reports, the CBI made four accused among those who were pleaded to discharge, as government witnesses in the case.