Key witnesses in the mob killing of dairy farmer Pehlu Khan, including his two sons, say they were shot at Saturday morning while they were on their way to a court in Rajasthan's Behror to depose in the case.
The four witnesses - Rafique, Azmat and Pehlu's Khan's sons Arif and Irshad - along with their lawyer say they were headed to the court from neighbouring Haryana's Jaisinghpur, when a black Scorpio SUV tried to overtake their car.
When the witnesses did not pull over, the men inside the Scorpio opened fire upon them, says a police complaint by Irshad, adding that the Scorpio did not have a registration plate.
"When we did not stop... the man in the back seat of the Scorpio fired at our Bolero, the bullet whizzed past the left side of our vehicle. We heard the sound of one shot... the Scorpio overtook us and so we turned back. We decided not to go ahead," said Irshad's complaint.
The witnesses then headed to Alwar to file a police complaint.
"We have recorded their complaint and are verifying the facts mentioned in it. We have also offered them police protection and an escort vehicle if required. We have assured the delegation that has met us today of complete security," a police officer said.
In April last year, Pehlu Khan, 55, was beaten to death on suspicion of cattle smuggling. A group of attackers was seen grabbing Khan by the neck, bashing his head to the ground, kicking and punching him.
In August this year, an NDTV team, posing as research scholars from the US, spoke to one of the accused in the case, Vipin Yadav, who, like the other accused, claimed they had no role in the killing.
"Haan hum log1.5 ghante tak pitate rahe ... pehle 10 aadmi aaye phir 20 aadmi aaye waha karib 500 log akatrit ho gaye (We kept beating him up for 1.5 hours. First there were 10 people then the crowd swelled)," he said while our hidden cameras recorded him.
Vipin also stated a key detail about his role in the crime. "Maine hi nikaale the, aur bike aage nikaalne ke baad bhi wo rok nai rahe they, toh maine zabardasti chaaabi nikal ke unko baahar nikaal liya (They weren't stopping their trucks, so I had to overtake them and take their keys to catch them),"he said.
Police had arrested and charged nine men; all of whom are out on bail.
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