Mumbai: A day after the Centre handed over the Bhima-Koregaon case to the National Investigation Agency (NIA), the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) accused each other of a cover-up.
While NCP chief Sharad Pawar on Saturday alleged the decision was made fearing that fresh investigation into the case would expose the previous BJP-led government’s “misuse of power”, the BJP claimed that some NCP leaders would be exposed after a fresh investigation by the NIA.
Several NCP and Congress leaders in Maharashtra termed the Centre’s decision unconstitutional. Mr Pawar alleged that the BJP was scared of further investigation into the case hence the case was transferred to the central agency.
“The deputy chief minister (Ajit Pawar) and home minister (Anil Deshmukh) called a meeting (of police officials) to know the factual position. But within four-five hours of that, the Centre handed over the probe to its agency,” Mr Pawar claimed.
While the Union government has got some additional rights (to transfer a case) under the NIA Act, law and order is a state subject, the NCP chief noted. He also questioned the reason for handing over the case to the NIA “in a hurry”.
“It shows there is some substance in the allegation that some officials misused powers to arrest people, including innocent ones. I think this (fresh probe by the state) would have exposed (the earlier government) and to avoid that the Centre has made this decision,” the former Union minister said. Congress leader Sachin Sawant alleged that the transfer of the case to NIA clearly substantiates the conspiracy that officials misused powers to arrest people.
Senior BJP leader and former finance minister Sudhir Mungantiwar said that it is being feared that names of NCP leaders would come to fore after NIA’s investigation in the case. Mr Mungantiwar said that the NIA is an apex agency, which can’t be suspected.
He said, “Casting doubts on NIA means that one has fear. It would be not appropriate to doubt the investigative agency.
Welcoming the Centre’s move, former chief minister and BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis tweeted, “Bhima-Koregaon enquiry by NIA is a welcome step by Centre! It’s high time Maharashtra Govt & leaders stop the doublespeak just for the sake of vote bank politics (sic).”