The Pune rural police have invoked sections 153 (a) (Giving provocation with intent to cause riot), 120 (b) (criminal conspiracy) and Sections 117 (Abetting commission of offence by the public or by more than 10 persons) against Hindutva leader Milind Ekbote, who has been booked in a case of violence at Koregaon Bhima on January 1.
Two FIRs were registered against Ekbote and Manohar alias Sambhaji Bhide by Dalit activists, accusing them of violence at Koregaon Bhima, at a time when lakhs of Dalits had come to the Jaystambh in Perne village on Pune-Ahmednagar Road to mark the 200the anniversary of the Battle of Bhima Koregaon.
An FIR was registered at Pimpri police station by activist Anita Salve on January 2. Later, another FIR was lodged at the Yerwada police station by activist Sushma Andhare. Both complaints were then transferred to the Pune rural police for further investigation.
Ekbote, along with Manohar alias Sambhaji Bhide, were booked on charges of inciting violence, attempt to murder and atrocity against Dalits. Later, the Pune rural police invoked additional sections 153 (a), 120 (b) and 117 of the Indian Penal Code against Ekbote, claiming that preliminary investigation has found his involvement in the January 1 violence in Koregaon Bhima. Police had invoked these sections against Ekbote on January 23 and a report in this case was submitted to the sessions court in Shivajinagar.
A special court in Pune had rejected Ekbote’s bail plea on January 22. Ekbote then filed an application seeking bail before the High Court. On Wednesday, a bench headed by Justice B R Gavai recused from hearing Ekbote’s plea. Now, the matter will be heard by a division bench of Justice S C Dharmadhikari and Justice Bharati Dangre on February 2. The Pune rural police will be opposing Ekbote’s bail.