A team of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Monday officially intimated the Pune Police that it would be taking over the investigation in the Elgaar Parishad case, in which 23 people have been booked so far while nine among them arrested for alleged CPI-Maoist links.
Sources in the city police department confirmed the NIA team’s visit.
The three-member team of the central agency landed on Monday morning and later met officials of the city police handling the sensitive case, which has triggered a new round of war of words between ruling and opposition parties in Maharashtra, the sources said.
A top official said the NIA team, led by a Superintendent of Police-rank officer, met senior police officials, including the investigation officer, and handed them a letter, informing that the case has been entrusted to the central agency and they will take over it.
He said relevant authorities in the state government have been informed about the move.
The NIA team also took a review of the case from officials concerned.
Another official associated with the probe said they have already informed the DGP office in Mumbai about the developments related to the NIA starting the process to formally take charge of the case.
“Once the DGP office orders us to handover case-related documents and evidence, we will do so,” he said.
Earlier, Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar had questioned the arrests of several activists in connection with the case and had demanded a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe the action taken by the Pune City Police in the case so far. He claimed the police’s actions curbed “freedom of speech” in a democracy.
Following Pawar’s allegations, Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar and Home Minister Anil Deshmukh had held a review meeting last week with police officers handling the investigation. On Friday, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs had announced that the probe in the case would be taken over by the NIA.
The Pune City Police has alleged that Elgaar Parishad organised at Shaniwar Wada on December 31, 2017, ahead of the 200th commemoration of the Battle of Bhima Koregaon, was as per the strategy and funds given by banned CPI-Maoist.
(With PTI inputs)
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines