Six of the eighteen men accused of lynching Mohammad Akhlaque of Dadri village accusing him of eating beef have alleged that the case against them was “politically motivated.”In a petition filed under section 227 of the CRPC in the court of Additional District and Sessions Judge Shivani Jaiswal, they have pleaded that they should be discharged.Akhlaque, a resident of Bishahra village in Dadri, and his family were attacked by fellow villagers angered by a rumour that they had slaughtered a cow and eaten beef. A violent mob dragged Akhlaque out of the house and lynched him on September 28, 2015.The six accused, Hariom, Bheem, Arun, Sandeep, Puneet and Vinay, said in their plea that there was little evidence against them. “My clients have pleaded before the court that their names were not mentioned in the FIR when it was first registered. Neither had the main witnesses to the lynching — Shaista, Danish, Asghari and Ikraman — named them in their first statements before the judicial magistrate. Their names were included in written statements submitted two months later,” said Ram Sharan Nagar, counsel for the accused.“There is a possibility that my clients were named later under external pressure,” he said.Mr. Nagar is a former president of the Gautam Buddha Nagar District Court Bar Association.Akhlaque’s family’s lawyer Yusuf Saifi, however, disagreed. “There is sufficient evidence to prosecute and convict all the accused in this case. At this juncture, when the charges are about to be framed, moving a petition under section 227 of the CRPC is just a tactic to buy time.”Charges not framedAlmost two years after Akhlaque was lynched, charges are yet to be framed against the accused, despite the case being heard in a fast track court.The court is expected to hear the petition filed by the accused for discharge on August 9.