A judicial commission investigating the Bhima Koregaon case has suspended its hearings, PTI reported on Monday.
In a letter to the Maharashtra government, Koregaon Bhima Commission of Inquiry said that it was putting on hold all its scheduled hearings till members of the panel are provided a “suitable accommodation” in Mumbai to investigate the case.
The case pertains to caste violence in a village near Pune in 2018. One person was killed and several others were injured in the incident. Sixteen human rights lawyers, professors, poets and tribal rights activists had been arrested for allegedly plotting the violence.
The judicial commission’s lawyer Ashish Satpute told PTI on Monday that the panel was currently working from the state information commission’s office in Mumbai. The office is a small one and it was difficult to follow Covid-19 norms, the lawyer said.
In a letter dated October 31, the commission’s secretary VV Palnitkar told the Maharashtra chief secretary that the panel had asked the government to provide accommodation for its members for the hearings scheduled to be held between November 8 and November 12.
The two-member commission, headed by retired High Court judge Justice JN Patel, was constituted in February 2018 by the then Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. The panel had resumed hearing in the case in August this year after a gap of nearly 14 months due to Covid-19 restrictions in the state.
Last month, the commission had summoned former chiefs of the Mumbai and Pune Police, Param Bir Singh and Rashmi Shukla, to appear as witnesses in the Bhima Koregaon case. Singh was additional director general (law and order) of the Maharashtra Police at the time of the violence, while Shukla was chief of Pune Police.