As state government authorities are yet to respond to Pune City Police, the prosecution in the Elgaar Parishad case on Monday sought more time from a special court in Pune to file its response to the application by the National Investigation Agency (NIA), seeking transfer of all the court documents and seized objects in the case.
In a move that had taken the state government by surprise, the Elgaar Parishad case, probed by the Pune City Police for over a year, was transferred to the NIA last month.
During Monday’s hearing, District Government Pleader Ujjwala Pawar told Special Judge S R Navandar that the investigating agency, Pune City Police, has communicated with the office of director general of police regarding the transfer of documents.
Pawar sought a week’s time and told the court the response can’t be filed without instructions from the investigating agency. But Special Judge S R Navandar said the court can’t wait so long and scheduled the next hearing for February 6.
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On January 29, Superintendent of Police of NIA-Mumbai, Vikram Khalate, had moved an application before the special court in Pune requesting for orders to send “all court records, seized articles from this court” to the NIA special court in Mumbai “in the interest of justice”.
The court had kept the matter for hearing on Monday, and also asked prosecution and defence lawyers to file their response. Defence lawyers told the court that they had not received any copies submitted by the NIA and would file their say after going through the documents, which they received on Monday.
The NIA had lodged a separate first information report (FIR) in this case in Mumbai on January 24. Agency officials visited Pune police commissionerate on January 27 and officially communicated that they are taking over the probe in the case.
Elgaar Parishad was an evening conclave organised at Pune’s Shaniwar Wada on December 31, 2017, a day before the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Bhima Koregaon. Lakhs of Dalits gather at the Jaystambh, a war memorial in Pune district’s Perne village, on January 1 every year to mark the anniversary of the battle.
On January 1, 2018, violence had broken out at Koregaon Bhima and claimed the life of a 30-year-old youth. Hundreds were injured and property worth crores was also destroyed in the violence.
Pune City police had alleged that Elgaar Parishad was organised by the accused through the “front organisation” Kabir Kala Manch to “create communal disharmony”. The alleged plan was meant to “provoke Dalits in the name of caste” at Koregaon Bhima, according to Pune police.
Sharad Pawar, chief of NCP which is one of the three main constituents of the Maha Vikas Aghadi government, had earlier raised questions about the arrest of several prominent activists in the Elgaar Parishad case over their alleged links with the banned CPI-Maoist. He had also demanded a probe by the special investigation team into the action taken by Pune City Police in the case.
Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar and state Home Minister Anil Deshmukh, both NCP leaders, held “review” meetings with police officials who were handling the Elgaar Parishad investigation. A day after the meeting, the NIA took over the probe.
Deshmukh has alleged that the BJP-led central government transferred the case to the NIA because they wanted to “protect someone close to them”.
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