Maintaining the Elgaar Parishad case is built around “misuse of power by police officers”, NCP president Sharad Pawar on Tuesday reiterated his demand for an immediate inquiry into the handling of the probe by Pune Police officers.
“The way the Pune Police and certain senior officers conducted themselves… and their entire outlook towards the Elgaar Parishad case is worrisome and a blot on the prestige of the Maharashtra Police,” Pawar told mediapersons in Mumbai.
He added that he has sought a detailed inquiry by a special investigation team (SIT), comprising a retired high court judge and retired IPS officers, over the conduct of the police officers who handled the case.
Questioning the role of the Pune Police and a few senior officers, Pawar said that many innocent people, who did not attend the Elgaar Parishad conference (held at Shaniwar Wada in Pune on December 31, 2017), were booked and have spent years in jail. “I used to be proud of the Maharashtra Police, as I handled the home department for almost 15 to 20 years. The way power has been misused by the police is worrying,” he added.
Pawar also sought an investigation into how details of the meeting between Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar and Home Minister Anil Deshmukh — held to discuss the state mulling a SIT probe into the Elgaar Parishad case — reached the Centre, which “then decided to hand over the case to NIA within a matter of hours”.
“Who informed the Centre about the happenings of the meeting? Clearly, both Ajit Pawar and Anil Deshmukh did not. Senior police officers were present in the room. The entire case is built around the misuse of power by police officers. May be the officers feared getting exposed,” he added.
State Congress president Balasaheb Thorat also questioned the Centre’s decision to handover the case to NIA. “The manner in which the central government handed over the Elgaar Parishad case to the NIA raises concerns… it is clear that it is an attempt by the Union government to label people associated with progressive, Dalit and pro-Ambedkar movements as Naxals,” he said.
The NCP chief also said that Elgaar Parishad and violence at Koregaon Bhima in Pune district on January 1, 2018, were two completely different cases. The matter relates to alleged inflammatory speeches delivered at the Elgaar Parishad conclave, which the police claimed, triggered violence near the Koregaon-Bhima war memorial in the district the next day. The Pune Police have claimed the conclave was backed by Naxals.
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