Five more villagers nabbed in Palghar lynching case

Updated: May 02, 2020, 06:56 IST | Diwakar Sharma | Mumbai

The group, from Gadchinchale village, was found sleeping in the forest on Thursday; the total number of arrests now at 115.

Most of the suspects fled to the jungle after the murder of the three men on April 16. Police have been conducting drone surveillance in the areas surrounding the village to hunt down the fleeing villagers
Most of the suspects fled to the jungle after the murder of the three men on April 16. Police have been conducting drone surveillance in the areas surrounding the village to hunt down the fleeing villagers

Five tribals were arrested late on Thursday in connection with the April 16 mob lynching incident in Palghar district. The group was remanded to police custody till May 13.

"Interrogation of all the accused is underway. They have given some inputs and we are working on them," said Additional Director General (CID), Atulchandra Kulkarni. "We are yet to find the motive behind the killings of the three people."

"Several teams have been formed and we are very close to arresting all the accused who fled to the jungle after lynching the trio," ADG Kulkarni added.

The five have been identified as Vansha Lahanu Gorakhna, 50, Sachin Ramesh Dandekar, 20, Prakash Gajanya Gorakhna, 26, Ranjeet Soban Gorakhna, 33 and Lahanya Ramji Bhaver, 60.

"If they give information on anything that can be recovered or seized, we will take proper action," Kulkarni added. All five accused are residents of Cholherpada of Gadchinchale village.

An enraged mob had killed priests Chikne Maharaj, 70, Sushil Giri, 35 and their driver Nilesh Tilghate, 30 on April 16, thinking they are child-lifters.
"The five people were nabbed when they were sleeping in the forest," said an officer privy to the investigation. This takes the total number of arrests to 115, including nine minors.

Mobile video and CCTV camera footage were examined closely to take grabs of accused. "These grabs were shown to all accused to establish the identities. These are being matched with details retrieved from the dump data of the lynching site," said the officer.

The cyber cell is also zeroing down the locations of cellphones found in the dump data. "Most of the cellphones are switched off," said the officer and added that tracing them is taking time as large patches of Gadchinchale village and nearby areas are 'no network zones'.

Police sources said 10 robust, young officers from each police station in Palghar district are camping near Kasa police station as the investigators have learnt that nearly 200 absconding villages are hiding in one location in the forest bordering Dadra and Nagar Haveli.

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