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Bhima-Koregaon panel open to quizzing ex-CM Devendra Fadnavis

Devendra Fadnavis  

The Bhima-Koregaon inquiry commission on Wednesday said it is open to to cross-examine former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis if it can shed more light on the case.

The commission was hearing two separate pleas: one seeking the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) leader’s cross-examination and another which claimed the investigation had been transferred to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to hide the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s (RSS) role in the violence.

Justice J.N. Patel, the head of the commission, “We are going to call all those persons — whether a former chief minister or anybody else — if by doing so we are able to throw more light on the case.”

The commission was hearing a petition filed by Dr. Sanjay Lakhe Patil, an intervenor and president of Karmaveer Pratishtan, who has made several pleas, including calling Mr. Fadnavis as a witness to be cross-examined for his “misleading” statements in the Maharashtra Assembly.

The petition, filed on Monday, claims that in the statements last year, Mr. Fadnavis did not blame ‘urban naxals’ for the violence, but confessed that the riots were instigated by Hindutva leaders Sambhaji Bhide and Milind Ekbote.

Meanwhile, People’s Republican Party leader and MLC Jogendra Kawade on Wednesday filed a statement before the commission blaming the RSS for its role in the violence. The MLC said Mr. Ekbote and Mr. Bhide were closely associated with the RSS, and the alleged plot to assassinate Prime Minister Narendra Modi was a means to divert attention from the role of the RSS in the violence. “The RSS is more harmful than the naxals. What were the intelligence agencies doing about the alleged conspiracy?” he asked.

Mr. Fadnavis had last week said the NIA taking over the cases was the correct decision, and accused the Maha Vikas Aghadi government of sabotaging the Pune Police’s investigations. Mr. Patil’s application has alleged that Mr. Fadnavis shielded the accused in the guise of his privileges in the Assembly.

The commission was set up by the previous government under the Commission of Inquiry Act, 1955.

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Printable version | Feb 28, 2021 9:59:13 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/bhima-koregaon-panel-open-to-quizzing-ex-cm/article30687467.ece

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