On January 7, 2011, a movie titled ‘No One Killed Jessica’ was released based on a true story of Jessica Lal, a Delhi-based model murder case. In the case, the accused was acquitted after the court trial. However, intense media coverage led to a huge protest and subsequently the life imprisonment was awarded to the perpetrator.
The story was that once Jessica along with actor and model Shayan Munshi was shutting down the bar of the New Delhi restaurant when Siddharth Vashisht (Manu Sharma) with his two friends entered the bar. Since the bar was closed Jessica refused to serve the drinks to them. The refusal made Siddharth infuriated and he fatally shot Jessica. The incident took place in 1999.
The family of Siddharth used their political, financial, and law enforcement connections and eventually Siddharth and his friends were acquitted on the pretext of lack of sufficient evidence, in February 2006.
Mob-lynching case of 55-year-old Pehlu Khan resonates with the Jessica murder case. All accused are acquitted in Pehlu Khan’s case as in Jessica’s case. Hitherto, it seems that no one killed Pehlu Khan.
On willingness to open a dairy farm, Pehlu and four others, including two sons were returning home in Haryana from a cattle fair on Jaipur’s outskirts on April 1. They were abhorrently attacked by cow vigilantes in Alwar’s Behror. The mob accused them to be cattle smugglers and beat them up even though they had all the documents. Pehlu died two days later.
The horrific incident was recorded in a video by an unknown person and circulated on social media. Afterward, 15 attackers were identified and most of them were members of the right-wing outfit. Seven of them were arrested while the police put up a lookout notice for six more accused. Two of them were minors.
The case was investigated by four teams and then the CB-CID team gave a report that there was no proof to book the six who were absconding. Which is why they were cleared of all charges. The six men have been cleared on the basis of witness statements and mobile phone records.
According to a report in The Week’s recent edition Irshad Khan, son of Pehlu, said that a lawyer at Jaipur High Court agreed to fight the case for a fee of Rs 1.10 lakh. To accumulate the fee amount the villagers were ready to crowdfund. But the lawyer refused afterward.
The report further said that another lawyer took Rs 52,000 and appeared for the victims. But Irshad said that the lawyer did not fight the case well and the accused got bail.
Now, four more are set free on bail and the bail application of the other two are in the High Court.
Irshad further said in the report that the accused are all influential, and even our lawyers are being threatened.
On September 14, the Rajasthan Police had closed its investigation against the six men whom Pehlu had named before he died. An investigation report said that their names were removed from the case as an inquiry had found them not guilty.
“If none of them are culprits where are my father’s killers? I myself got beaten by these people,” Irshad said to The Week.