Was Overruled, Says NCP Minister as Uddhav Govt Gives Nod to NIA Probe in Bhima Koregaon Case


Mumbai: Fissures seems to have erupted in the Maha Vikas Agadi coalition in Maharashtra over the handing over of Bhima Koregaon case to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) with NCP and Shiv Sena sharing differing views in the case.

Maharashtra home minister and NCP leader Anil Deshmukh has alleged that he was overruled by the chief minister in the case. "The chief minister has the powers. He overruled my proposal and granted consent to NIA to take over the probe,” Deshmukh was quoted as saying by the Times of India.

He further said that before taking the decision, the state government should have informed the Union ministry that there was a need to reconsider its decision. “I was overruled by the chief minister,” Deshmukh alleged.

On Thursday, the Maharashtra government said it has no objection to NIA taking over the probe in Bhima Koregaon case.

The Centre last month transferred the probe in the case from Pune Police to the NIA, a decision which was then criticised by the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress government in Maharashtra.

Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had earlier criticised the Centre's decision, saying the Union government has all rights to step into the probe, but it should have taken the state government into confidence before handing over the investigation to NIA.

The case is related to speeches delivered at the Elgar Parishad conclave, held at Shaniwarwada in Pune on December 31, 2017, and the next day's violence near the Koregaon Bhima war memorial in the district.

The Pune Police claimed that the conclave was backed by Maoists, and the speeches made there triggered the violence.

During the probe, the police arrested Left-leaning activists Sudhir Dhawale, Rona Wilson, Surendra Gadling, Mahesh Raut, Shoma Sen, Arun Ferreira, Vernon Gonsalves, Sudha Bharadwaj and Varavara Rao for alleged Maoist links.