New Delhi: The Allahabad high court on Monday, July 31, granted bail to Vishal Rana, son of BJP leader Sanjay Rana and one of the key accused in the Dadri lynching case. According to a Huffington Post report, the 22-year-old is the 14th person to be given bail among the 18 accused of killing Mohammad Akhlaq.
On September 28, 2015, Akhlaq and his son Danish were dragged out of their home, mercilessly assaulted and then left for dead over allegations of slaughtering a calf and storing its meat in their fridge. While Akhlaq died on the spot, his son sustained critical injuries.
Even though 18 were arrested after a chargesheet was filed based on testimonies from Danish and his sister, the charge of criminal conspiracy to murder – under Section 120A of the IPC – was not included. According to Huffington Post, its absence weakened the murder charges filed under Section 302 of the IPC. Ten of the accused are already out of jail.
While granting Vishal bail, Justice Pratyush Kumar said, “It is submitted that co-accused Saurav, Shivam, Gaurav, Puneet and Arun having similar role to that of the applicant have already been granted bail by this court. Therefore the applicant is also entitled to be released on the bail on the ground of parity. Without commenting on the merits of the case, I find it a fit case for bail,” The Hindu reported.
Ram Saran Nagar, legal counsel to some of the accused, said that charges against them are yet to be framed, despite the case being under trial in a fast track court: “After yesterday’s (July 31) HC order, only three accused – Shri Om, Vivek and Rupendra – are still in prison. All others have been granted bail. The next date of hearing has been fixed for August 9.”
Ravin Sisodia, one of the accused, had died at a hospital in October 2016 due to “multi-organ failure” while in judicial custody.
Sisodia’s family members and other residents of Bisada village in Uttar Pradesh had, however, alleged that he did not die of natural causes as stated by the authorities and had refused to cremate his body till their demands, which included the arrest of Akhlaq’s brother for alleged cow slaughter, were met, Indian Express reported.
His funeral in early October had made headlines after villagers draped the tricolour on his body and projected him as a martyr.