Justice B G Kolse Patil in Pune on Monday. (Express photo)
Retired Bombay High Court judge, Justice B G Kolse Patil, who has been claiming to be the organiser of Elgaar Parishad, Monday raised suspicion on the National Investigation Agency (NIA) taking over the probe into the case pertaining to the event.
Calling the investigation into the Elgaar Parishad case “false”, Kolse Patil said there was an attempt to protect Hindutva leaders Sambhaji Bhide and Milind Ekbote, who are accused in the Koregaon Bhima violence case.
Kolse Patil was addressing a press conference on Monday on behalf of Bhima Koregaon Shauryadin Prerna Abhiyan, Maharashtra, a body that had organised Elgaar Parishad at Shaniwar Wada in Pune on December 31, 2017, ahead of the 200th commemoration of the Battle of Bhima Koregaon.
He said that Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Sharad Pawar demanded for special investigation team (SIT) to conduct inquiry into the action taken by the Pune City Police in the case and soon the NIA took over the probe. “This shows that due to the fear that probe by cops in the Elgaar Parishad case would reveal something that could create problems for former chief minister (Devendra Fadnavis), the Centre made NIA take over the investigation,” he said, demanding that the probe be taken away from the NIA.
When asked about Pawar not naming Bhide or Ekbote and not making any allegation against the investigators in the case in his affidavit filed before the Koregaon Bhima Commission of Inquiry, which is probing into the causes of violence on January 1, 2018, Kolse Patil said, “You should ask this to Pawar. How can I comment on it?”
Kolse Patil claimed it was him and retired Supreme Court judge, Justice P B Savant, who had organised Elgaar Parishad, and there was no question of any Maoist involvement in the event.
On pamphlets and literature of Bhima Koregaon Shauryadin Prerna Abhiyan naming Justice Savant without his knowledge, Kolse Patil said it was a “minor issue”.
Elgaar Parishad made a call of “Chalo Bhima Koregaon (march to Jaystambh erected by British government in the memory of its soldiers who fought the battle against Peshwas in Koregaon Bhima on January 1, 1818)”, but Kolse Patil himself and other speakers at the conclave, including Prakash Ambedkar, Jignesh Mevani and Umar Khalid, did not go Jaystambh on January 1, 2018.
Kolse Patil said, “I had nothing to do with it (Jaystambh). I have not been there in the past too. We had held gathering of those who were going to Jaystambh next day to make them aware of ongoing problems in the society. That does not mean we should also go there.”
Meanwhile, questions were also raised by mediapersons about offences lodged against some of the accused for their alleged links with banned CPI Maoist in the past as well. “We are only concerned about accused Sudhir Dhawale, who was involved in organising Elgaar Parishad. He was acquitted by court in the previous case. We do not know other accused,” Kolse Patil said.