The Rajasthan High Court today ordered the scrapping of a police complaint lodged against Pehlu Khan -- a Muslim dairy farmer killed by a mob two years ago -- and his sons in a cow-smuggling case.
A single bench of Justice Pankaj Bhandari dismissed the case filed under the Rajasthan Bovine Animals Protection Act, saying that there was no evidence to show that the cows were being transported for the purpose of slaughtering.
Pehlu Khan was beaten to death in April 2017 allegedly by self-proclaimed cow vigilantes in Alwar district on suspicion of cow smuggling. The 55-year-old dairy farmer, whose beating was captured on video, died of his injuries in a hospital three days later.
While the police had filed a case of murder against the attackers back then, they also registered a first information report or FIR against Pehlu Khan, his sons and the driver of the truck they were travelling in for allegedly transporting the cattle without a proper permit.
Pehlu Khan's sons appealed against the FIR, saying that they were the actual victims in the case. They also claimed to have receipts from the Jaipur cattle fair to prove the authorised purchase of livestock.
The Ashok Gehlot-led Congress government in Rajasthan was widely criticised earlier this year, after police filed charges of cow-smuggling against Pehlu Khan and his sons. However, Mr Gehlot defended himself by saying that the chargesheet was the outcome of police probing the case under the previous BJP government, and assured that any discrepancy found in the investigation will be corrected.
The Rajasthan government also filed an appeal against the acquittal of the six accused in the dairy farmer's killing. A local court had let them off by giving them the benefit of doubt.
(With inputs from Agencies)