Ahmedabad: In an important development, the Gujarat Police on Wednesday filed chargesheet against 34 persons in connection with the flogging of Dalits by cow vigilantes on July 11 near Una town in Saurashtra region.
The chargesheet has been filed swiftly in 57 days of the incident, whereas legal criminal procedure requires it to be registered within 90 days, especially in cases of atrocities against Dalits and Adivasis.
It may be recalled that the Gujarat government had handed over the investigation in the case to the Crime Investigation Department (CID) after allegations that the local police had failed to act against the perpetrators in time.
Before filing the chargesheet, the CID arrested four policemen on the charges of dereliction of duty and helping the accused by forging documents. All the four have also been included among the accused in the case in the chargesheet.
The four policemen arrested by CID officials are police Inspector Nirmalsinh Jhala, sub-inspector Narendra Pandey, Assistant Sub Inspector Kanji Chudasama and woman police constable Kanchanben Parmar.
Barring Pandey, the three others are already under suspension.
The CID has alleged that the four cops "misused" their position by not acting against the perpetrators.
The 34 accused persons have been charged under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, including 307 (attempt to murder), 397 (robbery), 365 (kidnapping), 355 (assault to dishonor a person), 342 (wrongful confinement), 147 (rioting), 324 (causing hurt by weapon) and 120-B (criminal conspiracy) among others.
They were also charged under various sections of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
The CID has filed a separate chargesheet against three minors who were apprehended before the Juvenile Justice Board in Junagadh.