‘Missing’ Hindutva leader appeared at Pune police station on Friday.
Pune: Radical Hindutva leader Milind Ekbote, who is the prime accused in inciting violence at Bhima-Koregaon on January 1, was interrogated by the Pune police on Friday for his role in the clashes, which left one person dead besides aggravating social tensions across the state. Ekbote, who was said to be allegedly ‘untraceable’ by the investigating agencies, presented himself at the Shikrapur police station in the morning. The FIR had been lodged against him at this police station following the riots.
Making an appearance before investigating agencies for the first time since he was booked for the clashes, the Hindutva leader was extensively quizzed about his alleged role in the riots by Additional Superintendent of Police (ASP) Sandip Pakhale. “He presented himself in the morning.
He was quizzed for several hours and has been summoned for further questioning tomorrow,” said an investigating officer.
Earlier this week, the Supreme Court had extended Ekbote’s interim relief till March 14, granting him protection from arrest till that period. However, the court had pulled up the state government for the tardy pace of its investigations against the Hindutva leader, asking why Ekbote had nor been arrested before he applied for bail in the apex court.
The court had further questioned the claims of the state government and the probe agencies that the Hindutva leader was allegedly ‘untraceable’.
In his defense, Ekbote’s counsel had stated that he was ready to appear before the police and cooperate with the probe, but that he had never received any summons from the police.
Ekbote’s anticipatory bail application was rejected by the Pune sessions court on January 22 and again by the Bombay High Court on February 2.
On February 6, the Pune sessions court issued an arrest warrant for the rightwing leader, who then moved the Supreme Court for interim bail the next day, which was granted to him.
Two FIRs were lodged against Ekbote, who is the executive president of the fringe Hindutva outfit ‘Samasta Hindu Aghadi,’ and the octogenarian Hindutva leader Sambhaji Bhide ‘Guruji’ (who heads the fringe outfit ‘Shiv Pratishthan Hindustan’) for allegedly orchestrating the Koregaon Bhima riots, which left one person dead during the celebrations to commemorate the bicentenary of the Bhima-Koregaon battle.