New Delhi: Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar on Sunday broke his silence over the Centre transferring probe into the Bhima Koregaon case to the National Investigation Agency (NIA), advising the Narendra Modi government to ‘do its own work.’
In a sudden development Friday night, the government handed over the case to the NIA from Pune Police, triggering an angry response from the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government.
“I feel that the Centre and state governments should do their respective works. The Centre can intervene when an issue of the national level crops up,” news agency Press Trust of India (PTI) quoted the Maharashtra Deputy CM as saying. He was speaking in Pune on the sidelines of the launch of the ‘Shiv Bhojan Thali’-a flagship scheme of the MVA government.
Referring to his meeting on Thursday with state Home Minister Anil Deshmukh and top brass of the Pune Police to review the status of the probe, Pawar said, “We were briefed about the case by investigating officers. I felt they were trying hard to probe the case. But suddenly, the Centre decided to take over,” he further said.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, whose party is among the three member parties of the MVA government, had lashed out at the Centre for transferring the case to the NIA. Pawar’s Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray’s Shiv Sena are the other two member parties of the coalition.
The case dates back to December 31, 2017, when provocative speeches were made at the Elgar Parishad conclave in Pune, leading to clashes a day later at the 200th anniversary of the Bhima Koregaon battle. Later that year, the Pune Police arrested a number of activists in connection with the violence as well as their alleged links with Maoists, in the process, using the words ‘urban naxals’ for the very first time.
The Maharashtra government is likely to move court challenging the Centre’s decision.