According to the reports, the Maharashtra Deputy CM Ajit Pawar and Home Minister Anil Deshmukh had met Pune Police officials on Thursday morning to review cases related to the 2018 Bhima Koregaon violence.
Mumbai: Meeting underway between state Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar and state Home Minister Anil Deshmukh along with other senior Police officers, in Maharashtra Secretariat on review of Bhima Koregaon cases pic.twitter.com/ZDPUMW18zh
— ANI (@ANI) January 23, 2020
However, in the review meeting held by Deputy CM Ajit Pawar and Home Minister Anil Deshmukh on Bhima Koregaon case raised questions on several aspects of the investigation and sought clarity on the investigations as Pune Joint Commissioner and Maharashtra DGP Subodh Jaiswal briefed them for 30 minutes.
Following the Maha Vikas Aghadi government raising aspersions on the Pune police over their investigations, the police have asked more time for giving documents demanded by the Home Minister.
According to media reports quoting police sources, the police officers involved in the case are not happy with such interference in the investigation into the important case. Police feel the case is watertight with strong evidence recovered like letters exchanged with Maoist terrorists, and the case has serious security implications. Sources say the police forces feel demoralised as their probe in the case is being questioned after the change in government in Maharashtra.
Big development in the Bhima Koregaon case. ‘Terror appeasement’ by Aghadi upsets cops. TIMES NOW accesses the details of the meeting.
TIMES NOW’s Megha with details. pic.twitter.com/HTM14qzsef
— TIMES NOW (@TimesNow) January 23, 2020
Earlier on December 21, NCP chief Sharad Pawar had demanded a Special Investigation Team (SIT) probe into the police action against activists in the Elgar Parishad case. Casting aspersions on the investigative agencies’ role in the Bhima Koregaon case, Sharad Pawar said, “We will ask CM Uddhav Thackeray to form a Special Investigation Team to probe the matter.”
Echoing similar sentiments, NCP MLA Jitendra Awhad had also exhorted the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress government to drop the charges slapped against Sudhir Dhawale, a prime accused in the Bhima Koregaon case.
Meanwhile, on December 18, draft charges were framed against the nineteen accused including the nine activists – Sudhir Dhawale, Rona Wilson, Surendra Gadling, Mahesh Raut, Shoma Sen, Arun Ferriera, Vernon Gonsalves, Sudha Bharadwaj and Varavara Rao by the police.
The draft charges include ‘conspiracy to assassinate PM Narendra Modi’, ‘overthrow the government’, ‘waging war against the Government of India’ under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA). The draft charges also state that some of the arrested are active members of the banned CPI-Maoist party. If convicted under ‘waging war against India’ faces the death sentence or imprisonment for life, as per IPC section 121.
In the draft charge sheet, the police had revealed that all the 19 accused were conspiring to assassinate PM Narendra Modi during his roadshows in a manner similar to the killing of former PM Rajiv Gandhi.
The draft further stated that the Elgar Parishad violence was part of the conspiracy by the accused to attempt to overthrow the government and commit illegal acts including inciting people, fomenting and provoking violence through clashes at Koregaon Bhima, organising funds and recruiting cadres for terrorist activities.
According to the Pune police’s case, the Elgar Parishad event held in the city on December 31, 2017, was funded by CPI (Maoist) as part of a larger conspiracy to create social unrest and overthrow the government. The alleged provocative statements at the event contributed to the January 1, 2018 caste clashes at Koregaon Bhima, the police claimed.
On the 200 anniversary of the battle of Bhima-Koregaon on January 1 in 2018, a large number of people had gathered at the memorial near Pune. While the crowd was dispersing, violence erupted not only in Pune and surrounding areas but across the state. A 28-year-old youth, Rahul Patangale, was killed in the violence. 52 cases were registered and 152 people were arrested for violence and riots in the streets.
Since June 6, 2018, the Pune police have arrested ten ‘activists’, who are known to be sympathisers of left-wing terror. Sudhir Dhawale, Rona Wilson, Surendra Gadling, Shoma Sen, Mahesh Raut, P Varavara Rao, Sudha Bharadwaj, Arun Ferreira and Vernon Gonsalves were arrested for their alleged links with CPI (Maoist). Another accused Gautam Navlakha is accused of having links with Maoists, Kashmiri separatists, Pakistan’s ISI and banned terror organisation Hizbul.
The Pune police had filed a 5,000-page charge sheet, which had names of 10 persons of the above ‘Urban Naxals’. Addition to these five, absconding underground Maoists Milind Teltumbde, Prakash alias Ritupam Goswami, Prashant Bose alias Kishan da, Manglu and Deepu have also been named in the charge sheet. The KKM members and the Maoist operatives have been referred in the draft as “underground, absconded and a wanted accused” in the case.