Lawyers representing Milind Ekbote, an accused in one of the cases of Koregaon Bhima violence of January 1, on Friday submitted to the court a copy of an affidavit filed by the Deputy Superintendent of Police, Ganesh More, the investigating officer in this case, which was filed before the Koregaon Bhima Inquiry Commission.
Earlier, while opposing the anticipatory bail application filed by Ekbote, the officer, More, who is in the Pune rural police, had filed an affidavit before the courts saying prima facie, Ekbote was found involved in the conspiracy of January 1 violence.
But in his affidavit before the Koregaon Bhima Inquiry Commission, formed for probing the causes of the violence, More has not named Ekbote or any outfit and person for causing the riots. His affidavit mentions that the violence in the Koregaon Bhima area was a “sudden law and order situation”.
Ekbote’s lawyers, Amol Dange and Pradeep Gavade, submitted a copy of this affidavit on Friday before Additional Sessions Judge A N Sirsikar. Dange, the advocate, said he has submitted the affidavit for the knowledge of the court that the investigation officer has not accused Ekbote of the crime.
Following a complaint filed by Anita Savale, a Dalit woman, an FIR was lodged against Hindutva leaders Sambhaji Bhide and Milind Ekbote, under sections of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, accusing them of the January 1 violence.
The police never arrested Bhide citing lack of evidence. But after the Supreme Court rejected Ekbote’s anticipatory bail plea, the Pune rural police arrested him on March 14. Ekbote was later released on bail by the court on condition that he should report to the concerned police station every Monday, not pressurise any witnesses in this case, submit his passport to the police, not speak to media persons and not address any public rally.
At least two months ago, Ekbote had filed an application before the court seeking relaxation in the conditions regarding attendance at police station every week and allowing him to speak at public rallies and press conferences.
During the hearings, the prosecution as well as defence lawyers representing complainant Anita Salve and a victim of the violence, Bhimabai Tulve, opposed Ekbote’s application on grounds that offence against him is of serious nature, that the chargesheet has not been filed in this yet, that the investigation is still not completed and that relaxing his conditions may hamper the work of the Koregaon Bhima Inquiry Commission.
Meanwhile, Salve’s lawyer, Surendra Janrao, on Friday submitted an application before the judge seeking a video recording of the court proceedings as per the provisions of the SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. The court will hear this application on November 30. The court has asked the prosecution lawyer, Vilash Pathare, to file his response.
Along with Bhide and Ekbote, the FIR also named Koregaon Bhima villagers Yogesh Gavhane and Ganesh Phadtare and another, Anil Dave, as accused persons. Gavhane was not arrested as there was no evidence against him. Phadtare is known to be a local Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) activist and was arrested in this case.
Booked in more criminal cases, Phadtare is currently lodged at Yerwada Jail.
According to the FIR, Dave’s name was added to the list of accused persons based on a complaint, and his other details, like his address, are not known.