Amid the simmering tensions with alliance partners NCP and the Congress over the transfer of Elgar Parishad to National Investigation Agency (NIA), Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Tuesday (February 18) said that the Bhima Koregaon case and Elgaar Parishad case are “two different” cases.
He asserted that Bhima Koregaon case is related to Dalits and he has not transferred the probe in this case to NIA because he wants to ensure that no injustice is done to Dalits of the state. Thackeray made the statements just a day after state Minister of Minority Development and NCP leader Nawab Malik stated that a Special Investigation Team (SIT) of Maharashtra Police will be constituted to probe Bhima Koregaon case.
“Elgar Parishad and Bhima Koregaon are two different issues. The issue of Dalits is related to Bhima Koregaon. I have not handed over its investigation to the Centre and will not give it. I want to make it clear that there will be no injustice to Dalits,” said the Shiv Sena chief.
Last week, the Elgar Parishad case was transferred by a Pune court to a special NIA court in Mumbai after the Centre had transferred the probe into the case from the Pune Police to the NIA.
It is to be noted that both the NCP and the Congress have criticised Thackeray’s decision to transfer the Elgar Parishad case to the NIA. “This is not fair, we are partners and such things should be discussed. You (Uddhav Thackeray) may have power but one should use it judiciously. Our ministers are there, they’ll fight,” Mallikarjun Kharge, AICC general secretary in-charge of Maharashtra, was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
NCP supremo Sharad Pawar had also expressed his reservations over Thackeray’s decision, saying, “It was not right for the Centre to hand over the investigation into the case to the NIA. But it was even more wrong for the state government to support the transfer of the case,” he had said.
The case is related to alleged inflammatory speeches delivered by some people at the Elgaar Parishad conclave on December 31, 2017. According to Pune Police, the speeches delivered at Elgaar Parishad conclave triggered violence near the Koregaon Bhima war memorial in Pune on January 1, 2018. Pune Police have claimed theElgaar Parishad conclave was backed by Maoists.