Upset over Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray’s decision to let the National Investigation Agency (NIA) take over probe into the Elgaar Parishad case from the state police, NCP chief Sharad Pawar Friday said that law and order was a state subject.
“It was not right for the Centre to hand over the investigation into the case to the NIA. But it was even more wrong for the state government to support the transfer of the case,” Pawar told reporters. “Meetings took place between 9 am and 11 am (in Mumbai) and the Centre took the decision (to hand over the case to the NIA) at 3 pm (on January 25),” he said.
The NCP supremo further said that the conduct of police and home department officials handling the case was objectionable.
Pawar, whose NCP is a key constituent of the Shiv Sena-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government, said, “The Maharashtra government should not have supported the Centre’s move.”
On Thursday, Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Sanjay Kumar said that “the state home department has no objection to the case being entrusted to the NIA”. On the same day, in a sign of rift between allies NCP and Shiv Sena, NCP leader state Home Minister Anil Deshmukh indicated that CM Thackeray has “overruled” his party’s stand by withdrawing any objections to the NIA taking over investigations into the Elgaar Parishad case.
Earlier in the day, a Pune court passed an order transferring the case to a special NIA court in Mumbai. Last month, the Centre had transferred the probe into the case from the Pune Police to the NIA, a move then criticised by the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress government.
The case relates to alleged inflammatory speeches delivered at the Elgaar Parishad conclave, held at Shaniwar wada in Pune on December 31, 2017, which the Pune Police had claimed, triggered violence near the Koregaon Bhima war memorial in the district the next day. The police have claimed the conclave was backed by Maoists.
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