A special court in Pune will on Monday hear a plea by the National Investigation Agency seeking transfer of all court documents and objects in the Elgaar Parishad case to a special NIA court in Mumbai, reported The Indian Express. One chargesheet, a supplementary chargesheet, documents and electronic data seized from the accused and the papers of proceedings of the case are in the custody of the Pune court.
The case, which was earlier being investigated by the Pune Police, was handed over to the agency earlier this month by the Centre, weeks after a new government came to power in Maharashtra.
A fresh first information report has also been filed in the case, the NIA had told the court last week. The new FIR has dropped sections pertaining to waging war against the government of India and sedition which were mentioned in the earlier FIR, reported The Indian Express citing sources.
Violence broke out between Dalits and Marathas in the village of Bhima Koregaon near Pune on January 1, 2018. This happened a day after an event in Pune called the Elgar Parishad was organised to commemorate the Battle of Bhima Koregaon in 1818 between the East India Company and the Peshwa faction of the Maratha Confederacy. One person died in violence during a bandh called by Dalit outfits the following day.
The Pune rural police had booked Hindutva activists Milind Ekbote and Sambhaji Bhide for allegedly inciting the violence. While the Supreme Court granted Ekbote bail, the police never arrested Bhide.
Later that year, the Pune Police arrested 10 activists in connection with the violence, and accused them of having links with the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist). Most of the activists are still in prison. Last month, eight of the 10 accused in the Bhima Koregaon case had written a letter to the Maharashtra Human Rights Commission, alleging that the previous BJP-led state government had imprisoned them because they were dissidents.
Probe panel gets two-month extension, funding
The Maharashtra government has released the dues of a two-member commission probing the 2018 Bhima Koregaon violence, the Hindustan Times reported on Monday. The state government has also ordered an inquiry into the delay in releasing the funds. “Action would be taken against officers responsible for the delay,” state Home Minister Anil Deshmukh had said after an urgent meeting on Saturday.
The panel of former Calcutta High Court Chief Justice JN Patel and IAS officer Sumit Mullick has also been given an extension of two months to complete the probe. The term of the commission was to end on February 8. This is fifth extension so far.
The funds were released after the panel had complained to the state government about the funds crunch and threatened to close the inquiry. “The circumstances indicate that the government is not serious about the commission,” the panel had said in its letter to the state government. “The commission is unable to function for want of money even for day-to-day expenses.”