Other States

Bhima Koregaon: Maharashtra mulls legal options to challenge NIA decision

A view of National Investigation Agency (NIA) Headquarters, in New Delhi.

A view of National Investigation Agency (NIA) Headquarters, in New Delhi.   | Photo Credit: V. Sudershan

Centre fears that leaders of Fadnavis government would be exposed, says Sharad Pawar

A day after the National Investigation Agency (NIA) took over the investigation into the Elgar Parishad/Bhima Koregaon cases, the Maharashtra government said it is mulling all options including posing a legal challenge to the decision.

If it happens, Maharashtra could become only the second State after Chhattisgarh to institute a suit against the Centre, hours after the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government took a review of the probe this week and called in question evidence produced by the Pune police in its 5,000-page chargesheet. The Congress-ruled Chhattisgarh government had earlier this month moved a plaint under Article 131, which gives the Supreme Court exclusive jurisdiction to hear cases between States and the Centre, after the NIA had taken over cases related to Naxal terror.

Maharashtra claims the NIA had also this month taken over the probe into an IED blast of May 1, 2019 in which 15 commandos were killed by Maoists in Gadchiroli district. The MVA may not necessarily challenge the NIA Act in toto but only the provisions of the Section 6(5) which allow the Ministry of Home Affairs to direct the NIA to take over and investigate any offence from the scheduled list. This more so since in the case of Bhima Koregaon and Elgar Parishad the chargesheet has already been filed and it does not “merit a takeover” at this stage, senior officials said.

 

“While the NIA is within its right to ask for a takeover, it remains in question if the procedure under sub Sections 1,2 and 3 of the Act have been followed. Both the NIA and State have to complete a report if they come across during the probe in scheduled offences under the NIA Act,” said a senior IPS officer of Maharashtra, adding the State could mull a legal challenge.

A political blamegame broke out following the NIA’s takeover. Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar on Saturday said if an SIT were to be set up in the Elgar Parishad case, a lot of IPS officers and leaders of the previous BJP government would be exposed. It is from this fear the NIA was directed to take over the cases from the Maharashtra government, he said.

Former Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said it was the right decision to takeover the cases from the State government. “It is the correct decision because this case is not confined to Maharashtra, we see its spread all over the country. The Central government has taken the right step, this will expose urban naxals,” he said. “The urban naxal network was exposed by the Maharashtra police after a lot of hard work but some people want to bring the police under a cloud, and started issuing threats to open the case. This was only being done to get more votes,” he said.

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Printable version | Feb 18, 2020 10:17:06 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/maharashtra-mulls-legal-options-to-challenge-nia-decision/article30653569.ece

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