Sharad Pawar for SIT probe into Elgar Parishad case

Deccan Chronicle.  | Sonu Shrivastava

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The Congress also voiced its opposition after Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray agreed to hand over the case to the agency.

Sharad Pawar

Mumbai: Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar is still sulking over the handing over of the Elgar Parishad investigation to the National Investigation Agency (NIA).

Justifying his demand for a parallel probe by a state agency, Pawar on Tuesday claimed that the Devendra Fadnavis government had misused the Maharashtra police machinery in the case.

The Congress also voiced its opposition after Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray agreed to hand over the case to the agency.

Pawar made it clear that his party had misgivings regarding the conduct of the police, especially the Pune police, and the then-officials and officers in the government.

“We have been continuously demanding the setting up of an SIT (Special Investigation Team) comprising a retired judge of the Supreme Court, retired police officer and an IAS officer. The SIT should probe the investigation and evidence that has been collected in the case and bring the truth before the people,” Pawar said.

The NCP chief exuded confidence that if an independent investigation were conducted, the truth pertaining to those who have been behind bars would come out.

According to him, the probe will reveal that injustice had been done to them. In addition to this, ‘those who have misused power will be exposed’, he claimed.

Pawar, who was a chief architect of Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA), wrote a letter to the state government, demanding the setting up of an SIT in January 2020. After this, deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar and home minister Anil Deshmukh held a review meeting with the Maharashtra DGP Subodh Jaiswal, state Intelligence commissioner Rashmi Shukla and the Pune police in cases related to the Bhima Koregaon and Elgar Parishad violence.

After this meeting, the Centre decided to transfer the case to the NIA.

Meanwhile, Maharashtra Congress president and revenue minister Balasaheb Thorat alleged that the decision to transfer this case to the NIA was an attempt of the Central government to label people who are associated with progressive, Dalit and pro-Ambedkar movements Naxalites.

“It is wrong to take action against them only because they have spoken out against the government. This is an attempt to gag progressive, and pro- Ambedkar voices,” he said.

Meanwhile, after handing over the investigation into the Elgar Parishad case to the NIA, Uddhav Thackeray on Tuesday said his government would not hand over probe in the Bhima-Koregaon violence case to the Centre.

“Elgar and Bhima-Koregaon are two separate topics. The issue facing my Dalit brothers is about Bhima-Koregaon and I will not give it to the Centre. I want to make it clear that there will be no injustice to Dalit brothers,” Thackeray tweeted.

It may be recalled that the violence at Bhima-Koregaon was a result of the alleged inflammatory speeches delivered at the Elgar Parishad conclave at Shaniwarwada in Pune on December 31, 2017.