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Uddhav Thackeray overruled me on Elgar Parishad probe: Anil Deshmukh

THE ASIAN AGE.
Published : Feb 14, 2020, 2:23 am IST
Updated : Feb 14, 2020, 2:23 am IST

Mr Deshmukh, too, had then publicly expressed disapproval of the Centre's move and termed it as against the Constitution.

Anil Deshmukh
 Anil Deshmukh

Mumbai: In a clear indication that there are major differences in the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government, home minister Anil Deshmukh on Thursday said that chief minister Uddhav Thackeray overruled him by handling the Bhima Koregaon case. The Centre last month transferred the case from the Pune Police to the NIA, a move then criticised by the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress government.

Mr Deshmukh’s statement indicates that the chief minister has given his consent to hand over the probe to the NIA despite opposition from other constituents of the government.

Mr Deshmukh, an NCP leader, 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.”

He further said the court in Pune will give its order on transfer of the case on Friday. “We will take the advocate general's opinion on setting up of an SIT to probe the Elgar case as demanded by Sharad Pawar and whether the state government can proceed with setting up of the SIT,” he said.

Interestingly, Mr Thackeray had expressed his ire over the move saying, “No one has denied Centre’s right to investigate the Bhima-Koregaon case, but they should have taken the state government into confidence before handing over the investigation to NIA.”

Mr Deshmukh, too, had then publicly expressed disapproval of the Centre's move and termed it as against the Constitution.

The NIA last week filed an application before a sessions court in Pune, seeking transfer of case papers, seized data, court records and proceedings to the special NIA court in Mumbai. However, the prosecution had then opposed the NIA's application, saying the reasons given by the central agency in its plea were not legal and sufficient to transfer the case to the special NIA court.

The case relates to alleged inflammatory speeches delivered at the Elgar Parishad conclave, held at Shaniwarwada in Pune on December 31, 2017, which the police claimed, triggered violence near the Koregaon-Bhima war memorial in the district the next day.

The Pune police have claimed the conclave was backed by Maoists. During the probe, the police arrested Left-leaning activists Sudhir Dhawale, Rona Wilson, Surendra Gadling, Mahesh Raut, Shoma Sen, Arun Ferreira, Vernon Gonsalves, Sudha Bharadwaj and Varavara Rao for alleged Maoist links.

Tags: anil deshmukh, uddhav thackeray