A day after NCP chief Sharad Pawar once again questioned the investigation of Pune Police in the Elgaar Parishad case, a senior police officer said the probe that has led to arrests of some prominent activists was based on evidence.
“We had the documents and evidence to book the accused. Our arguments, and the evidence and facts we placed before the courts, including the special court in Pune and the Supreme Court, have been prima facie upheld,” said Ravindra Kadam, who was joint commissioner of Pune City Police when the case was filed in 2018. Kadam, now the joint commissioner in Nagpur, had led the investigations for the first few months.
Pune police has arrested nine prominent activists and lawyers for their alleged links with banned Naxal outfit CPI-Maoist in the Elgaar Parishad case. Elgaar Parishad was an evening event organised in Pune a day ahead of the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Bhima Koregaon on January 1, 2018. Police claim that speeches made at Elgaar Parishad had contributed in inciting violence the next day, in which one person had been killed and several others injured.
Pune police has been probing the alleged involvement of Naxalite groups in organising Elgaar Parishad, and claims that evidence that it collected during its investigation led it to a larger underground network of banned Naxalite groups. Last month, the National Investigation Agency had taken over the case from Pune police, leaving the new state government, which had been contemplating a review of the case, unhappy.
Asked why Pawar was repeatedly criticising the Pune police for its investigation into the case, Kadam said that question should be directed at the person concerned.
In Mumbai on Tuesday, Pawar, while reiterating his demand for an immediate inquiry into the handling of the probe by Pune police officers, had said, “The way the Pune police and certain senior officers conducted themselves… and their entire outlook towards the Elgaar Parishad case, is worrisome and a blot on the prestige of Maharashtra Police.”
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