THE MUMBAI Police registered 75 FIRs in cases of violence across the city in the first few days of January 2018 following the violence in Koregaon Bhima and the subsequent protests by Dalits. Of the 75 cases, nearly 29 were registered in the western suburbs of the city, while 24 were registered in the eastern suburbs. The police have filed chargesheets in eight cases so far.
The accused in all 75 cases have been released on bail. The affidavit pegs losses to property incurred by the government at approximately Rs 45 lakh, not including privately owned property worth nearly Rs 1 crore that was damaged.
In February, the Maharashtra government formed a two-member judicial commission headed by Justice (retd) J N Patel, former Chief Justice of the Calcutta High Court, while former state chief secretary Sumit Mullick was the other member. The commission had been given four months to complete the probe into the violence that erupted when Dalit groups were allegedly attacked on January 1 while attending a function at Koregaon Bhima, 40 km from Pune, to commemorate an 1818 battle between the Peshwa’s army and the Mahar regiment of the colonial forces. Dalit outfits had organised a Maharashtra bandh following the violence, which also witnessed violent protests. Later, on June 9, the panel was granted a four-month extension to submit its report on the riots.
A senior IPS officer said: “We have filed the affidavit before the commission this week and provided the updated figures.”
In January, the police top brass had said there were 35 FIRs registered in the city, including petty offences linked to the incident. The total has now been pegged at 75 cases. “The more serious offences like the two attempt-to-murder cases were registered in the eastern suburbs. However, including petty offences, the suburbs from Andheri to Borivali saw the most number of FIRs registered,” said an officer.
Various police stations have filed chargesheets in eight cases linked to the incident so far. “All the accused are out on bail as in the majority of these cases, there were no major sections of law applied. In cases with major sections attached, a chargesheet has already been filed,” the officer said. The police have also pegged the losses incurred due to the protests at Rs 45 lakh as far as government property is concerned. “In terms of private property, the losses are nearly a crore,” said the officer. Cases where destruction of properties have been found in the chargesheet, the collector would be informed. “The collector has the power to recover damages in such cases,” the officer said.
In March this year, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had announced that the government would withdraw FIRs pertaining to offences that were not serious in the Koregaon Bhima riots. An officer said: “So far, the police are investigating all cases and filing chargesheets as no detailed instructions have been communicated to them. Once the specific instructions trickle down, they will be taken into account.”