The defence lawyers on Tuesday claimed before the two-member commission, inquiring into the Bhima Koregaon violence, that the affidavits filed by a witness and his associates are filed “by way of gross exaggeration” and “to distort the facts” relating to the incident on January 1 in Bhima Koregaon.
During the cross-examination of Tukaram Gaware, a retired assistant police inspector and a witness in the case, lawyer Niteen Pradhan — representing Samasta Hindu Aghadi leader Milind Ekbote — asked Gaware whether the affidavits filed by him and 26 members of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Kalyankari Mandal were prepared by him. Gaware — who heads BAKM — replied in the affirmative and further said the affidavits had been prepared on June 5, 2018, notarised on June 24, 2018 and submitted to the commission on June 25, 2018.
“I have prepared all the affidavits after inquiring with each members and typed it. The handwritten draft papers have been destroyed,” said Gaware.
Pradhan said, “All the documents and affidavits submitted before the commission by Gaware and members of the mandal are after due deliberation and by way of gross exaggeration.” However, Gaware said, “It is totally false.”
Vijay Sawant, lawyer representing Vivek Vichar Manch, an organisation run by former MP and BJP leader Pradeep Rawat, questioned Gaware that whether Manisha Khopkar, first witness deposed before commission, Ashok Bansode, secretary of the mandal and his affidavits were same, as the contents were “substantially same”. The commission’s chairman retired Justice J N Patel asked the witness if it was “cut-paste” and the witness answered in affirmative.
Sawant said, “The similarities in the contents of the affidavits is because of due deliberation amongst Gaware and the members of the mandal in order to place your say in a favourable form to distort the facts relating to the incident at Koregaon Bhima.” But, Gaware replied in the negative.
In his deposition, Gaware said ealier he had visited Bhima Koregaon four to five times and this year, he went there with a larger group as it was the 200th anniversary of the battle.