Days after Sanjay Shinde, a leader of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) died in a freak accident, after his car caught fire, social media posts falsely claimed he was an accused in the Palghar lynching case.
BOOM spoke to Atul Chandra Kulkarni, Additonal Director General (ADG), Crime Investigation Department, Maharashtra who called the viral messages fake and said, "Shinde never featured in any of our investigations in the accused in the Palghar case".
Shinde, a Taluka in charge for NCP died on October 13, 2020 after his car caught fire allegedly due to a short circuit and unable to escape he is said to have been burnt to death in the vehicle. The incident occured near Pimpalgaon Baswant toll plaza in Nashik district and was caught on camera by bystanders.
His death is now being falsely dubbed by the Indian right wing as an act of karma by linking it to the Palghar lynching case.
On April 16, 2020, a mob attacked and lynched three people travelling in a vehicle and passing through Gadchinchale Village in Palghar District. The victims were two Hindu sadhus and their driver with the case making headlines and news channels and social media posts aiming to give it a communal spin. The case caused massive uproar and led to the suspension of personnel from the Palghar police department and the case transferred to the Maharashtra state Crime Investigation Department (CID). BOOM had then reported that the attacks were driven by fake posts doing the rounds in the area about a gang of kidnappers.
The false claim is viral with a video of Shinde's car catching fire, with the text claiming that it is an act of "karma" because Shinde was an accused in the Palghar case.
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We first ran a search for the video in the viral posts and found that they are from news reports published on October 15, days after NCP leader Sanjay Shinde's car caught fire near the Pimpalgaon Baswant toll plaza on the Mumbai-Agra road on October 13. According to media reports, Shinde who was a taluka unit vice president of NCP and a grape exporter was on his way to Pimpalgaon to buy pesticides for his crops when there was a "possible short circuit in the car wiring" which led to car catching fire.
The incident was well reported with Mid-Day quoting a local police officer as saying, "After noticing the flames, Shinde tried to stop his car, but he could not get out as its doors got locked. He tried to break open the window, but was unable to do so. The fire soon spread and he was charred to death inside"
The video of the incident was also broadcasted by several news outlets. Watch above.
We then contacted the Atul Chandra Kulkarni, ADG, CID, who rubbished the claim and said, "Nowhere has he figured in our investigation."
We also scanned through news reports and did not find his name in any of the list of the accused as reported. Anil Deshmukh, Home Minister and NCP leader had on April 22, days after the incident, with the list of the names of the 101 arrested in the case. We scanned through these names and did not find a single person named Sanjay Shinde in the list.
The Palghar case is currently being investigated by the CID which filed an FIR in the case on July 15, 2020 with three different offences registered at the local Kasa police station. The CID has since arrested 154 people and 11 minors were detained with a total of three chargesheets filed in the case with the hearings at the Dahanu court. The incident also led to a departmental inquiry against personnel of the Palghar police department, with two officers sent on "compulsory retirement" and 15 of them "punished with paycuts"
Claim Review : NCP leader Sanjay Shinde who died in a car accident was named as an accused in the Palghar lynching case
Claimed By : Social Media posts
Fact Check : False