The Maharashtra government informed the Supreme Court on Wednesday that it has taken action against the erring policemen connected with the alleged lynching of two seers and another person in Palghar district in April. The state government counsel contended before a bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan, R. Subhash Reddy and M.R. Shah that action taken by the state has been placed on record before the court, and cited the affidavit filed last month.
In the affidavit, Maharashtra had told the top court that action, ranging from dismissal from service to salary cuts, has been taken against 18 personnel. One of the petitioners also pointed out that he has received around 1,000-page affidavit filed by the state on Tuesday night.
The bench queried, "Why is everybody filing reply at the last moment?" The top court emphasised that material in the case should have been filed earlier for the court to consider it. The bench noted that it has not read the affidavit yet. The bench said how it can decide the matter today and asked the petitioners to file their reply, and then the court will take up the matter.
The state government counsel informed the bench that a chargesheet has been filed in the case and action has also been taken against the policemen. The bench scheduled the matter for further hearing in the week commencing November 16.
"An affidavit has been filed by the state. Let the petitioners file a reply to the affidavit within two weeks," said the top court.
In the affidavit, the Maharashtra police had said 18 policemen have been given varied punishments and some of them have also been dismissed from service. Also, some of them have been made to compulsorily retire. "The police personnel have replied to the show cause notices. After considering their replies to the show cause notice and after hearing them, the Special Inspector General of Police, Konakan range has issued final orders on August 21 imposing punishment upon the delinquent police personnel...," the affidavit said.
The victims identified as Chikne Maharaj Kalpavrukshagiri, 70, Sushil Giri Maharaj, 35, and Nilesh Telgade, 30, who was driving the vehicle, were travelling from Mumbai in a car to attend a funeral at Surat in Gujarat amid the lockdown. They were attacked and killed by a mob in Gadchinchile village on April 16 in the presence of police. A PIL was filed by advocate Shashank Shekhar Jha seeking a CBI probe into the case.