MUMBAI: A charge sheet has been filed against 28 persons in connection with the lynching of five members of a nomadic tribe in Maharashtra's Dhule district, police said Thursday.
Lawyer Ujjwal Nikam will be the special public prosecutor in the case, a police official said.
The incident, which took place at Rainpada in Dhule district on July 1, had sent shock waves through the state.
"We filed a charge sheet against 28 arrested accused on September 26," said Vishwas Pandhare, Superintendent of Police, Dhule.
"We found during the probe that bogus WhatsApp posts about a gang of child-lifters moving in the area were being circulated, and it led to the killings," Pandhare said.
Lawyer Ujjwal Nikam -- who has handled many high-profile cases such as the 1993 Mumbai blasts -- will appear as special public prosecutor in the case, the SP added.
The accused have been charged with murder, rioting, voluntary causing hurt and causing grievous hurt under the IPC, another police official said.
The victims of the lynching were identified as Dadarao Shankarao Bhosale (36), his brother Bharat (45), Bharat Malve (45), Aagnu Srimant Ingole (20) and Raju Bhosale (47).
As per the videos of the horrific incident, which went viral, one of the victims apparently tried to speak to a six-year-old girl which led to suspicion that they were child-lifters.
According to local police, when they reached the spot, a crowd of about 3,000 people had gathered and all five victims were dead.
The victims belonged to the nomadic Nath Gosavi community whose members move from place to place in search of work and food.