Other States

‘Who told Centre about review of probe?’

Jayant Patil and Sharad Pawar at a press conference in Mumbai on Tuesday.

Jayant Patil and Sharad Pawar at a press conference in Mumbai on Tuesday.   | Photo Credit: Twitter

Pawar questions conduct of police officers in Elgaar Parishad case, says Fadnavis govt. misused power

Raising questions over the conduct of the Maharashtra Police, and especially that of the Pune Police, in the investigation into the Elgaar Parishad and Bhima-Koregaon violence case, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar on Tuesday said the previous Devendra Fadnavis government had misused its power in the probe.

The former Union minister raised questions over the coincidence of the Centre transferring the case to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) from the Pune Police the same day the State government reviewed the status of the investigation.

“How did the discussion inside the meeting leak? Who told the Centre that the State government was reviewing the probe? Was it the senior officers who attended the meeting?” Mr. Pawar asked at a press conference in the city, a day after directing NCP ministers to form a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to look into the case.

“An SIT should be appointed to probe the conduct of the Pune Police and the misuse of power by the Fadnavis-led government. The Centre transferred the case from the State to the NIA fearing that the truth would be out,” Mr. Pawar said.

He also said the Elgaar Parishad matter and the violence at Bhima-Koregaon in Pune district on January 1, 2018, were two completely different cases, and the violence was a result of the different atmosphere created by Hindutva activists Milind Ekbote and Sambhaji Bhide. Mr. Pawar said, “Till then, even locals were in support of organising programmes without any ill feelings. Cases were registered by the Pune Police against those who were neither involved with Elgaar Parishad nor the Bhima-Koregaon violence.”

The matter relates to alleged inflammatory speeches delivered at the Elgaar Parishad, a conclave held at Shaniwarwada in Pune on December 31, 2017, which the police claim triggered violence near the Bhima-Koregaon war memorial in the district the next day.

During the probe, the Pune Police arrested left-leaning activists Sudhir Dhawale, Rona Wilson, Surendra Gadling, Mahesh Raut, Shoma Sen, Arun Ferreira, Vernon Gonsalves, Sudha Bharadwaj and Varavara Rao for alleged Maoist links and claimed there was a plan to assassinate the Prime Minister. They have been booked under the India Penal Code and the anti-terror law, Unlawful Acts (Prevention) Act.

“It is comical to say the plot was to murder Narendra Modi,” Mr. Pawar said.

‘Will discuss NPR’

When asked questions about the State rolling out the National Population Register, Mr. Pawar said the party opposed it, but the State has a government of different parties. “We will discuss with everyone and take a call. It won’t impact the stability of the government,” he said.

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Printable version | Apr 7, 2020 11:06:33 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/who-told-centre-about-review-of-probe/article30855254.ece

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