Social Activist Anna Hazare on Tuesday deposed as a prosecution witness in the murder trial of Congress leader Pawanraje Nimbalkar. Hazare told the court that he had learned, through the media, that the alleged shooters of Nimbalkar had been given a contract to kill him as well.
Nimbalkar was shot in his car in Navi Mumbai on June 3, 2006, allegedly over a political rivalry in a conspiracy planned by accused, including NCP leader Padamsinh Patil.
Hazare said that based on media reports on the contract to kill him, he had approached the Parner police in Ahmednagar with a complaint. “Prior to filing of the complaint, I also made correspondence with the government for taking action against the accused, but no action was taken,” Hazare told the court.
The social activist also told the court that he knew Patil as an elected representative and had led an agitation into alleged acts of corruption by him. He further said that an inquiry under retired Supreme Court judge P B Sawant was set up by the state government after the agitation. Hazare claimed that he had faced threats during the inquiry.
During cross-examination, Hazare submitted that he had no personal information about the contract, but had only learned about it from the media. He also denied knowledge that a defamation case had been filed against him by Patil before a Mumbai court and that he had been granted bail in the case.
Hazare also denied that he had deliberately come before the court to depose falsely against Patil. He maintained that he had come to depose as he was summoned.
Hazare was summoned after the Supreme Court in April set aside a Bombay High Court order and directed for him to be called as a prosecution witness.
In October 2018, the HC had rejected a plea by Nimbalkar’s wife, Anandidevi, who had sought for Hazare to be called as a witness. The sessions court in April last year held that as his evidence would be hearsay, he can be exempted from examination as a witness.
The trial is at its concluding stage with the court now set to record the statements of the accused before commencing final arguments.