Are the Shiv Sena and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) headed for a collision course? After Maharashtra CM and Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray said that he had no objections with the National Investigating Agency (NIA) taking over the investigations in the Elgar Parishad case, State Home Minister and NCP member Anil Deshmukh said that Thackeray had “overruled” the NCP in doing so.
A miffed Deshmukh said, “The state agencies were investigating the Bhima-Koregaon case. But the Centre handed over the investigation to the NIA. As the home minister, my stand was that the Centre should have taken the state government into confidence before taking the decision. We were putting up our stand in the court in this direction. The chief minister has the right to overrule my stand.”
Sharad Pawar, NCP chief too expressed his unhappiness in the matter, the Hindustan Times reported. He said that while the Centre’s decision directing the NIA to take over the Elgar Parishad case was unfair, the state government’s approval to it was more unfair.
At a press conference in Kolhapur he told reporters, “Maintaining law & order is a state subject. It is unfair to encroach upon the rights of the state and Maharashtra’s support to the move is more unfair.”
This is the first decision of the chief minister that has Pawar has criticized since formation of the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government — made up of Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress on November 28, 2019.
When the MVA was formed Pawar had written a letter to the CM demanding a probe in the matter by a Special Investigation Team (SIT) headed by an IPS officer. But before the state home department could do so, the Centre transferred the case to the NIA which then asked the Pune sessions court to transfer evidence and records to the special NIA court in Mumbai.
Pawar had then said that the BJP-led government had “abused” its power to book activists and academicians Sudhir Dhawale, Surendra Gadling, Sudha Bhardwaj, Mahesh Raut, Varavara Rao, Arun Ferreira, Vernon Gonsalves, Rona Wilson and Gautam Navlakha and called the arrests a conspiracy.
The Times of India reported that a bureaucrat said that when the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) issued its notification on January 24, the home department asked the law and judiciary department for its opinion on the same, especially keeping in mind Pawar and Deshmukh’s reservations.
The file was brought back to the CM with the department’s views and the CM upheld the same saying it had no objection with the NIA taking over the inquiry.
Violence had broken out near the Bhima-Koregaon war memorial in Pune on January 1, 2018 which Dalits visit to commemorate the participation of the Dalit Mahar soldiers who helped win the fight against the Brahmin Peshwa rulers of Pune in 1818. Post the incident, the Pune police had filed cases against activists for delivering speeches there and allegedly inciting violence, while also claiming that the organizers of the event had links with Maoists.
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