Cornered by the Opposition for defending the police in the Maval firing in which three persons were killed, Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar on Friday claimed it was a right wing conspiracy. He said the origins of it can be found at the Rambhau Mhalgi Prabodhini, a Rashtriya Sawayamsevak Sangh (RSS) think tank.

Responding to questions on the last day of the legislature session, Mr. Pawar, who has been accused of masterminding the firing, by the Opposition leaders, said that once the judicial probe by a retired High court judge was over, the truth would be out. He had called the superintendent of police when he heard that there was a firing and not before that. He refuted allegations that he was responsible for ordering the firing. He said the phone records could be checked to corroborate this.

The government had spoken to farmers about the pipeline project and gone out of its way to give compensation. The project to divert water from the Pawna dam to the Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal corporation (PCMC) was not new; there had been protests in the past.

With respect to the families of the three farmers killed in the August 9 firing, he said the government would consider giving permanent jobs in the PCMC.

Mr. Pawar, who is the Guardian Minister for Pune, said he had information that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) would be protesting on August 9; he had sought police reinforcements in the area. There were 900 policemen in the area but the situation took an unexpected turn.

Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan said there were indications that the violence was pre-planned, but the incident of firing would have to be investigated. If people had done anything above the law, they would be punished. No one can take the law into his hands. There was no need to judge who was guilty (or not) of the firing based on television footage, he said.

Keywords: Maval firing