Updated: December 25, 2021 8:15:00 am
Maharashtra government has granted yet another extension to the Koregaon Bhima Commission of Inquiry. An order in this regard was issued by the state home department on Friday. As per this order, the commission has been given an extension of six months till June 30, 2022.
The two-member commission, headed by retired high court justice J N Patel with former chief secretary Sumit Malik as the other member, was constituted by the state government on February 9, 2018, to inquire into the “exact sequence” of events that led to violence on the 200th anniversary of Battle of Koregaon Bhima on January 1 that year. One person had died and several others were left injured in the violence.
The commission was initially given four months to submit its report, but its tenure had to be repeatedly extended to allow it to complete its work. Subsequently, the commission received three extensions of four months each, one extension of three months, another of six months and one of two months – from February 8, 2020 to April 8, 2020. Hearings of senior officers besides Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar were scheduled before the commission between March 30 and April 4, 2020.
But due to the Covid-19 outbreak, on March 23, 2020, the commission issued a letter postponing the hearings till further notice. Meanwhile, the period of extension granted to the commission by the government expired on April 8. The commission then sought further extension of at least six months, saying that it intended to examine nearly 40 to 50 more witnesses, including police and revenue officers, and a few prominent political leaders.
Accordingly, the state government gave the commission an extension till December 31, 2021. The commission then conducted hearings in Pune and Mumbai, but a few important witnesses remain to be examined. So, the panel sought another extension of six months from the state government.
“We have received the notification from the government granting extension to the commission till June 30, 2022. The schedule for the next hearings will be released soon,” said V V Palnitkar, secretary of the Koregaon Bhima Commission of Inquiry.
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