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THANE: A special court here in Maharashtra has ordered clubbing of two FIRs registered in connection with the lynching of three persons, including two sadhus, in the Palghar district in April 2020 “to avoid wastage of time and resources and to avoid multiplicity of litigations”.

The order to club the two FIRs was passed by additional sessions judge Rajesh Gupta on August 12 based on an application filed by the prosecution.

A copy of the order was made available on Saturday.

Taking into consideration facts and circumstances of the case and on the point of material available on record and in view of “observations by the Apex Court in case of Amitbhai Anilchandra Shah V/s.CBI (cited Supra) in the interest of justice and to prevent unnecessary wastage of time and resources, to avoid multiplicity of litigations, the orders thereto passed, it would be proper and lawful to conduct a joint trial in respect of C.R.No.76 & 77 of 2020”.

On April 16, 2020, a mob lynched two sadhus Chikne Maharaj Kalpavrukshagiri (70) and Sushilgiri Maharaj (35) – and their driver Nilesh Telgade (30) at Gadchinchale in Palghar district, 140 km north of Mumbai.

The brutal attack took place amid rumours that child- lifters were roaming in the area during the lockdown.

The judge noted that two offences were registered for the same crime under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), the Destruction of Public Property Act and under the Disaster Management Act and the Epidemic Diseases Act.

In his submission, special public prosecutor Satish Maneshinde submitted that at the time of registration of the FIR the victims were already dead and therefore section 307 (Attempt to murder) of the IPC was erroneously registered without verifying facts.

Investigation in the crime is completed and two chargesheets are filed for both the FIRs.

“The say of the other side is obtained on the back leaf of the application.

They have no objection for a joint trial,” the judge noted.

Advocate Amrut Adhikari, appearing for the accused, submitted there cannot be an amalgamation but needs to continue the crime and that another chargesheet filed to be treated as a supplementary chargesheet.

“It is apposite to note by the time, as submitted by special PP, the crime No.76/2020 which was registered under section 307, the three persons were already dead. Undisputedly crime no 76 and 77 arises out of the one and the same transaction.

“The crime no.76 of 2020 relates to an offence punishable under section 307 of the IPC. In fact it ought not to have been registered without verifying the fact of incidence. It further appears witnesses in both the cases are common as so the accused persons are the same. The document and material relied by the prosecution are also not different,” the order said.

A total of 226 accused are being arraigned for the lynching.