Mumbai: A Thane sessions court, while granting bail last week to the 89 accused in the Palghar mob lynching incident in April last year of two sadhus and their driver, has said that it appears they were only present on the spot, may be out of curiosity, and there is an absence of substantial material against them.
Additional Sessions Judge SB Bahalkar said in his order, “On going through the material placed on record, it appears that these applicants were only present on the spot at the time of the incident. No specific role has been assigned in the crime by the prosecution.”
The court further said that, in the circumstances, it is not clear whether they were members of the unlawful assembly or gathered there out of curiosity to see what is going on. “In the absence of such substantial material on record, it would not be just and proper to keep the applicants behind bars,” Judge Bahalkar said.
Further, the court stated that there is no likelihood of taking the case to final disposal in the near future and it is well settled that the accused should not be detained as pre-trial conviction and that, moreover, bail is rule and jail is exception.
The prosecution had contended that the 89 accused along with 400 to 500 other people had gathered near Forest Checknaka and assaulted two sadhus and their driver using sticks, iron rods, axes and stones. Amongst the offences, they were booked for were murder, attempt to murder and criminal conspiracy and as well as for defying the lockdown norms.
Their advocates had sought bail, stating that they were gathered at the spot out of curiosity and had not played any role in the offence.
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