'The first person who started beating these men was Nitin, a college president, and the other was Deepak, who is currently absconding.'
'After that, two more joined the mob.'
'The last one who we arrested was a passerby who was going with cremation material to prepare for his father's funeral.'
'He stopped by and he too started beating these men.'
In a major twist in the Pehlu Khan murder case, Alwar Superintendent of Police Rahul Prakash claims that the local police has filed cases against 14 people under the Rajasthan Bovine Animal (Prohibition of Slaughter and Regulation of Temporary Migration or Export) Act and Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, and are deeming them as cow smugglers.
The Alwar SP is categorical that the 15 men from Haryana's Mewat district -- including Pehlu Khan who was beaten up by a mob in Rajasthan's Alwar district on suspicion of smuggling cows -- had no verified documents to prove that they were in the dairy business and not cow smugglers.
"I don't know if they (the people who began beating) knew for sure if they (the people who were beaten) were cow smugglers or not, but according to the police version they were cow smugglers," Prakash told Rediff.com's Prasanna D Zore.
"They did not have the transit permit to take the cows out of the state," the Alwar SP added.
How many arrests have you made in the Pehlu Khan murder case?
We have made four arrests in the Pehlu Khan murder case.
Are those arrested affiliated to any cow protection group?
We can't decisively say so.
We have no facts or documents yet that can prove that these arrested as well as those absconding are part of any (cow protection) group or have any affiliation to any group or were related or knew each other.
Two of them are related to each other and the other two (under arrest) are friends.
The first person who started beating these men was Nitin, a college president, and the other was Deepak, who is currently absconding.
These two boys (Nitin and Deepak) started beating first and they are the main accused in this case.
After that, two more (who are under arrest now) joined the mob.
The last one who we arrested was a passerby who was going with cremation material to prepare for his father's funeral.
He stopped by and he too started beating these men.
And then many more joined them.
Are these four arrested residents of Alwar?
Yes, all those arrested are local residents.
Do they have any criminal record?
As of now, nothing.
There is no past criminal record of those we have arrested in this case.
What are the charges under which these four have been arrested?
Apart from Section 302 for murder, these people have been booked under several other charges like Section 308 (attempt to culpable homicide), Section 323 (for voluntarily causing hurt), Section 427 (mischief causing damage), Section 143 (for being a member of unlawful assembly), Section 147 (rioting), Section 149 (unlawful assembly guilty of offence committed in prosecution of common object).
They were produced in court and out of the four, three of the accused are under judicial custody and one under police custody.
What have these four confessed to the police?
They all have confessed that they beat up Pehlu Khan.
We also verified their identities through videos that were shot by the people and shared on WhatsApp groups.
Are you likely to arrest more people in this connection?
Apart from these four, we have also identified a dozen people and are looking out for them.
As of now they are absconding, but we are making efforts to arrest them.
How soon do you think you will succeed in arresting them?
We cannot give any time frame (for the arrests).
Are these 12 who you are likely to arrest also Alwar residents?
Yes, most of them are local villagers.
What did the four arrested accused confess to the police?
During their interrogation they said that they attacked these people because of certain provocation.
And what was the provocation?
Just that they were smuggling cows.
I don't know if they (the people who began beating) knew for sure if they (the people who were beaten) were cow smugglers or not, but according to the police version they were cow smugglers.
They did not have the transit permit to take the cows out of the state.
Was there any provocation from these alleged cow smugglers? Have any of the arrested four confessed this to the police?
No, they have not said so, but they said that by just seeing them taking the cows away provoked them.
These confessions were made to the police and not before a judicial magistrate.
There are media reports that say these 15 people were not cow smugglers. But you maintain that they were cow smugglers...
Yes they were cow smugglers because they did not have any transit permit, so they are cow smugglers.
There is no doubt about it; we have registered a case against them too.
Under which Act are these cases registered and against how many people have you registered a case?
Under the Rajasthan Bovine Act and Cruelty to Animals Act.
But there are media reports claiming that these 15 were not cow smugglers, but were involved in the dairy business...
No, they had unverified documents and they will not stand the scrutiny of law.
So, 100 per cent they were cow smugglers; there is no doubt about that.
IMAGE: A mob beats a group of Muslims they allege were smuggling cows, Alwar, Rajasthan, April 3, 2017. Pehlu Khan, one of the men brutally assaulted, died later in hospital.